By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Union made one of their biggest moves of their offseason on Monday, landing midfielder Maurice Edu on a one-year loan with an option to purchase from Stoke City FC of the English Premier League.
Edu was a member of the U.S. 2010 FIFA World Cup team and Philadelphia is counting on him being a key piece of the puzzle in 2014.
“I’m excited to be here,” Edu tells KYW Newsradio. “I had a chance to train (Tuesday) morning, meet the guys and just ready to go.”
This is Edu’s second stint in MLS. He was the #1 overall pick in the 2007 SuperDraft (by Toronto FC) out of the University of Maryland. He went on win Rookie of the Year honors that first season, but since 2008 he has played in Europe.
The 27-year-old spent time with the Rangers Football Club in Scotland before joining Stoke City FC and he talks about why this was the right time to come back to the US.
“It’s an exciting time to be in MLS,” Edu says. “I think the league has, over the past few years, made tremendous strides, being able to attract some quality players, the standard is up there. For me it’s exciting, an exciting time to be an American back in MLS, leading up to the World Cup as well. Philadelphia was a great choice in the sense that I have a good relationship with both Rob Vartughian, the technical director as well as (team manager) John Hackworth. Just speaking to them, speaking to everyone, the effort they made to get me here, it was tremendous. Now I’m excited just to be here and get back playing.”
As for how his time overseas has helped him grow as a player.
“It’s forced me to adapt my game,” Edu says. “Add different elements to my game. But also in this game, this profession, there’s so many ups and downs and it forces you to be mentally tough. So I think I’ve just grown, I’ve matured a lot. Now I just want to bring whatever experiences I’ve been able to enjoy overseas, I’m excited to bring them back here and try to help this young team a little bit.”
The Union will hold an open training session on Wednesday at YSC Sports in Wayne, Pennsylvania, as they get ready for the 2014 season.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.