Union say “show us the money”; Trade all 5 MLS Draft Picks. Here’s why.

Miami, FL (Thursday, January 10, 2019) –

There’s a first time for everything, and for fans of the Philadelphia Union, it will be a quiet Friday. For the first time in MLS history, a team has traded away all of its draft picks. Wednesday, Philadelphia elected to not make any draft choices in tomorrow’s 2019 MLS Superdraft. Instead, the club announced last evening that it sent all five of draft picks in Friday’s draft to FC Cincinnati for up to $200,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM).

In exchange for the picks (Nos. 13, 29, 37, 61 and 85), the Union will receive $150,000 in 2019 GAM. They will receive an extra $50,000 in conditional 2020 GAM, depending upon certain performance metrics being met by any players chosen by Cincinnati in the SuperDraft.

“When evaluating how we want to build our roster for the 2019 season and beyond, we decided that acquiring this money is the best use of our SuperDraft resources,” said Ernst Tanner, Union Sporting Director, in a team statement. “Not only will we look to continue both signing Union Academy products for the first team and Bethlehem Steel FC, as well as attracting young talent from abroad, we believe that this sum of money will help us complete crucial signings ahead of the upcoming campaign.”

Want more explanation? Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner had this to say when asked by the Philadelphia Inquirer about trading all of the Union’s draft picks for allocation money:

“The level of MLS has increased a lot, and I think that the level of university [soccer] has been more or less the same. There is quite a big gap. … There are lots of players who are quite okay for the USL level, but it doesn’t necessarily make us better in the MLS level, and that is something a lot of clubs are realizing.

Related: Why trading away draft picks made sense for Philadelphia

FC Cincinnati now have double the number of draft picks, 10, which includes three in the first round. In addition to their natural No. 1 selection, they acquired the No. 16 overall selection from LAFC earlier on Wednesday, and have now acquired Philadelphia’s natural first-round pick as well. In exchange, they dealt away nearly all of the $175,000 in GAM they received from LAFC earlier in the day in addition to the draft pick.