To stand out in the Philadelphia Union academy, you have to be pretty special.
One of the emerging hotbeds of American soccer, the Union have been responsible for the development of Leeds United Star Brenden Aaronson and Genk center-back Mark McKenzie in the last few years alone. Further back, Arsenal defender Auston Trusty, now on loan at Birmingham City, also cut his teeth at Subaru Park.
The latest player looking to joint that list of incredibly talented alumni is Jack McGlynn.
Born in Middle Village, New York, in July 2003, McGlynn started out with local side BW Gottschee before being picked up by the Union academy in 2019. Since then, McGlynn’s career has gathered pace at a remarkable rate.
Five goals and three assists in 14 USL appearances with Philadelphia Union II quickly earned him a homegrown deal with the senior team and although he has featured in MLS NEXT Pro since then, McGlynn’s soccer has primarily been played under Jim Curtin, who has been left in awe at the teenager’s talent.
“I’ve talked about how special his left foot is. You can’t teach that. It’s God-given and it’s a talent that not many people possess,” Curtin said following McGlynn’s first senior goal in July – a stunning free-kick in a 6-0 thrashing of the Houston Dynamo.
That goal came at the end of a run of three starts for McGlynn, who went on to extend his season total to 23 appearances during the regular season, nine of which came from the start, while providing three assists to go with his goal.
The shadow of Aaronson’s success in the Premier League or McKenzie making waves for the side currently topping the Belgian top flight doesn’t seem to be weighing too heavily on McGlynn. In fact, it’s something of an inspiration.
“I’m good friends with both of them and they’re like role models to us,” McGlynn said of Aaronson and McKenzie during an exclusive interview with 90min back in August. “They’ve been on the same path as us and they show that anything’s really possible when you perform here. So it’s just that they’re good role models to look up to because we’re good friends. We know them, so it’s possible for us.”
However, for McGlynn to emulate the Union’s previous graduates, he must continue to develop. After helping Philadelphia finish top of the Eastern Conference, his next challenge comes against an in-form FC Cincinnati side in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The pressure of the Playoffs is unique in itself and can weigh heavily on the most experienced players, let alone a youngster at the start of his career.
But McGlynn is made of stern stuff and confidence flows through his veins. The latest star of the Philadelphia Union has risen and is ready for the MLS Cup Playoffs.