Santi Moar: Steel’s Spanish Striking Sensation

Jul 31, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view of a Philadelphia Union archway outside Talen Energy Stadium before a game against Real Salt Lake. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view of a Philadelphia Union archway outside Talen Energy Stadium before a game against Real Salt Lake. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Hearing his name called on draft day was nothing short of a surprise for the Pfeiffer University product. Now, with an opportunity of a lifetime in a new city, Santi Moar intends to give his all to repay Philadelphia for believing in him.

The new year has seen the Philadelphia Union make numerous moves to strengthen the foundation of their organization moving forward. The club’s philosophy has been catered to give opportunities to every player willing to fight and compete at the professional level.

No one understands that more than forward Santi Moar, who on Monday became the first draftee of the Union’s 2017 class to sign a professional deal with Bethlehem Steel F.C. despite being the last pick the club made in this year’s MLS SuperDraft.

But the arrival of Santi Moar dates back all the way to 2015 when then newly promoted sporting director Earnie Stewart traded Ethan White to New York City F.C. for a fourth round SuperDraft pick. Seen as a move to simply clear house and pave the way for Stewart to begin assessing and bringing in talent, it’s clear that the deal was one the Union took full advantage of in nabbing the newest professional member of this flourishing organization.

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For Moar, the prospect of coming to the United States and competing at the collegiate level intrigued him in developing as a player. Hailing from Ordes, Spain, the young winger thrived at the Division II level at Pfeiffer University while studying health and physical education.

“It was a great experience for me to get used to the culture and the style of play here in the United States. I was coached by Bob Reasso who’s a legend here in America. He’s coached many players in MLS and to learn under a great coach was an unbelievable experience for me.”

Reasso, known for mentoring such talents as Alexi Lalas and Peter Vermes in college, was an integral catalyst in Moar’s successful tenure at Pfeiffer. In his two years as a winger for the Falcons, he contributed for 24 goals, 33 assists, and was the driving force behind the team’s 2015 National Championship run. While the ability was never a question for those scouting the young attacker, it was his will to fight that most likely led the Philadelphia Union to keep close tabs on him.

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The Spaniard draws inspiration and style of play from fellow countryman Lucas Vazquez, who Moar described as “a fighter who tries to defend and impress, knows his abilities, and uses them perfectly.” Noting that competing on a team like Real Madrid requires a certain level of class, having the spirit and drive to push against all resistance is what fuels Moar in his journey to reach and succeed at the highest level of soccer.

Despite the impressive numbers, it provided him no sense of security entering this years MLS SuperDraft knowing full and well how many teams have been known to pass on later draft picks. But the wait was completely worth it for Moar; now in a professional organization with a developmental system centered around kindling young talent.

“I think it’ll be a great team for me to develop as a player” Moar stated; embracing the idea of competing on Bethlehem Steel in order to further advance his feel for the game in America. Now with a professional contract and an invitation to train with the first team during the preseason, many of his colleagues, teammates, and coaches are seeing why Earnie Stewart pulled the trigger on drafting him.

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Steel’s head coach Brendan Burke is keen on Moar competing for a starting spot immediately. “He will add a new dimension to our attack in 2017… he has goals in him and very good vision to the match”. Union head coach Jim Curtin stated that the rookie was clearly “a guy that has already caught our eye enough that he’s going to come to Florida with us”.

Matthew Real, who was the most recent signing for Bethlehem Steel prior to Moar’s deal, described his new teammate as a “really good technical player with lots of potential”. The defender also noted that his presence on the team is one that elevates the squad as a whole. “He’s a really hard worker and always brings up the energy”.

Moar is primed to compete for a long-standing place in Philly’s organization and is excited for the next step in his journey as a player. While playing for the Union was never the vision he had for his professional career, the gratitude he has for Earnie Stewart giving him the chance is one that drives him to embrace the city as his own.

“I think Philadelphia is going to be a great place to live… I’m a person that when I go to places, I want to know everything about it. I want to learn about everything surrounding the team and be in this city for a long time.”

Next: Philadelphia Union Sign Haris Medunjanin from Maccabi Tel Aviv

Far from home and chasing a dream, Santi Moar is the type of player Philadelphia should come to embrace. Now having a bigger stage to showcase his abilities, the new pro is hungry for success and eager to immerse himself in the philosophy of what it means to play in this city. ” I would like to be attached to the culture and tradition of Philadelphia, when I commit to something I am fully involved. They gave me this opportunity, so I want to give back to the club what they gave to me.”