Friday, January 22, 2010

Union signs defender Danny Califf

The Philadelphia Union announces that they have signed United States Men's National Team veteran Danny Califf.  The 29-year old central defender comes to the Philadelphia from FC Midtjylland in the Danish Superliga.

Califf brings leadership and international experience to Philadelphia Union, having earned 23 caps with the USMNT. In 2009, he captained the side's 3-2 win over Sweden and helped them to a first place finish in the CONCACAF region to earn a trip to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.  Califf also helped the squad to the finals of the Confederations Cup, where it defeated powerhouse Spain, 2-0, in the semi-finals.

"There will be competition for every spot on the pitch" suggested Philadelphia Team Manager Peter Nowak.  "But with a seasoned veteran like Danny Califf, we're adding a player who will help us set the bar ever higher. Danny understands the level of commitment our Technical Staff will demand daily and we're counting on him to not only help anchor our defense but push our younger players to greater heights too."

Drafted by the LA Galaxy in 2000, Califf captured three championships with the team, including the 2002 MLS Cup, the 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2000 Champions' Cup titles.  After being traded to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2005, Califf made 20 starting appearances, scoring twice, and was rewarded with a spot on the MLS Best XI team.

"At this point in my career-being a veteran-I'm quite comfortable being asked to take on a leadership role," said Califf, who performed a similar role with his club teams in Denmark. "More importantly, it's great to be back in the U.S., working with Peter (Nowak) and (Coach John) Hack(worth), who I've been with before. I am so excited to work with American kids, who like me, have come through the U.S. National Team system. I'm sure we'll relate well to one another for the benefit of Philadelphia Union."

Following the 2005 season, Califf made the move across the Atlantic Ocean to Aalborg BK of the Danish Superliga.  Califf made more than 50 league appearances for the Danish side in three seasons and, as a captain, led the team into the 2007 UEFA Cup group stage after a massive upset of Italian side Sampdoria.  In 2008, he signed with FC Midtjylland and was immediately inserted into the starting line-up, where he made 23 appearances as vice-captain of the squad.

"We feel very fortunate that we were able to capitalize on this opportunity to bring in a player of Danny's caliber and experience," stated Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. "Peter Nowak and John Hackworth have both worked with Danny over the years and have great respect for his work ethic. Danny is an excellent addition to our growing player roster."

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