Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Three Union players head to Europe for offseason training

Chester, Pa. - The Union’s Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo and Zach Pfeffer will all be off to Europe this offseason to train with clubs in England’s Premier League and Germany’s Bundesliga.

For the second straight offseason, MacMath will be training alongside United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard at the Premier League’s Everton, while Pfeffer returns to Germany to spend just over a month with 1899 Hoffenheim.  Okugo will be making his first trip to SC Freiburg, though the California native is no stranger to Germany, as he recently completed National Team camp in Duisburg with the U.S. U-23's from November 7-16.

The fifth overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, MacMath, 20, stepped in as the Union’s starting ‘keeper for the injured Faryd Mondragon in early September, leading the club to a 3-0-4 record, and their first ever playoff appearance with a a 1.07 goals against average.  This is MacMath’s second visit to Everton, a five-time FA Cup champion and winner of nine top flight league titles in England.

Okugo, 20, started 10 of 15 matches in the Union midfield this season and joins a Freiburg side that is currently in 17th place in the Bundesliga.  A member of Germany's top division since the club's promotion in 2009, Freiburg finished in the top half of the table last year, coming in at ninth place.

Philadelphia’s first ever Home Grown signing, Pfeffer, 16, makes his second trip to Hoffenheim and will remain with the club through the end of December.  Currently in ninth place in the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim is coached by Holger Stanislawski.

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