Philadelphia Union: Bethlehem Steel Lock Down James Chambers

Jul 17, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union fans cheer on prior to action against the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union fans cheer on prior to action against the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Union organization have begun the early stages of locking down talent to build the base of their franchise’s future. This process ultimately begins with their USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel F.C..

While the global transfer market doesn’t officially open until January, Major League Soccer clubs are still busy evaluating the available talent that can rise through the professional ranks and make an impact in the United States.

This is noticeably evident for the Philadelphia Union who’s franchise has begun the early stages of developing a model of progression for players to grow and succeed at the appropriate level of play. This model is directly dependent on the success of their “little brother” squad, Bethlehem Steel F.C. who brought to light the gifted abilities of homegrown signings Auston Trusty and Derrick Jones; both of whom were added to the Union roster during the course of last season.

Coming off their inaugural campaign that yielded a less than ideal conclusion in terms of results, the bigger picture for this club has not been reformed in light of their lack of competitive success. A notably strong team is rather difficult to form in a single year of operation; especially with the mentality of finding players that fit the culture and style of Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart.

Related Story: Union Developing Talent Within Steel F.C.

Monday saw Bethlehem Steel lock down one of their strongest assets as James Chambers signed a multi-year contract with the club. As the club’s captain to end the 2016 season, the 29-year old midfielder led the team in assists (4) and finished third among players on the roster in goals (3).

The signing of Chambers provides a sense of stability among the club with Steel head coach Brendan Burke praising his ability as both a player and a leader that embodies the Philadelphia Union culture. “James displayed a technical quality and leadership abilities that we felt would benefit the growth of our club and our younger players for years to come which is why we are so happy to have him commit to our project for multiple years.”

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Knowing that the prospect of moving up into the Philadelphia Union first team would be a trying test for the Irish midfielder, James Chambers knows as a professional what his role will be in this club and ultimately looks forward to growing the game in the Philadelphia region.

“It was an easy decision for me to be coming back,” Chambers said. “The whole organization is going in the right direction and I want to be a part of that.”

With Bethlehem Steel’s captain now locked down for the foreseeable future, time will tell how the coaches decide to build around him with the influx of youth breaking into the squad as well as notable names floating around the country who are potentially on the move. As the recent reports that the NASL may be shutting down operations, it could potentially displace numerous names who would fit well in the USL squad’s system and bolster the team to challenge for glory in the American game.

Next: Rosenberry's Status in the U.S. Men's National Team

It’s clear that the Philadelphia Union organization has a plan in place and are going to go about efficiently and diligently in the players they want to keep around for an extended period of time. James Chambers’ work ethic, technical skill, and passion for growth in this great city sets a prime example of the type of individual who will prosper in the Philadelphia culture and in return, help this club thrive.