Philadelphia Union announced today that the club has signed Academy product Jack de Vries, making the forward/midfielder the 12th Homegrown Player in Philadelphia Union history.

Welcome Jack de Vries

The latest Academy homegrown player name to warrant a line on the roster is Jack de Vries, effective January 2020.

“Usually, I can’t wake up in the morning. I was so excited I woke up with my alarm, no snoozes. I was so excited,” Jack de Vries on joining Philadelphia Union.

Photo of Jack de Vries with Philadelphia Union uniform
Jack de Vries with a Union uniform. (Photo Credit: Philadelphia Union)

“Completing the signing of an Academy Product to the first team is a momentous occasion for both the player and our club, and the same holds true with Jack finalizing his agreement today,” said Ernst Tanner, Union Sporting Director. “He is an exciting attacking prospect who has appeared at the highest levels within his age group in the United States youth national team setup.” Tanner goes on to share that de Vries is a versatile player who will cover positions on the team such as an attacking midfielder or as a forward.

De Vries has appeared for Bethlehem Steel FC as an Academy player, playing in three games (two starts) this season. He made his debut for the team in Bethlehem’s 2019 season opener in Birmingham on March 10, and would go on to start his first USL match vs. North Carolina FC in Steel FC’s home opener one weekend later on March 16. Additionally, de Vries has been a frequent participant in the United States youth national team system, receiving four call-ups in 2019 alone from the Under-17s. 

What is an Academy Product?

The Philadelphia Union Academy offers a “path to the pros.” This Union-affiliated private high school for soccer players opened its doors back in 2013. We can thank the Academy for players like Anthony Fontana, Shanyder Borgelin, Cole Turner and many other (now 12) star players who were offered professional soccer contracts with the Union at such young ages.

While physical education is obviously integrated into the school day, the academic workload is on par with other private schools. Head of the school, Dr. Nooha Ahmed-Lee, is an educator with 26 years of experience and she doesn’t have a background in sports. Dr. Ahmed-Lee believes that sports training in the morning is actually beneficial to learning because research has shown it wakes up the brain. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, the Academy website says, “each student-athlete is provided an individualized athletic development plan to help them build on their strengths and improve their weaknesses.”

Player Bio

Name: Jack de Vries
Position: Forward/Midfielder
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
Hometown: Brussels, Belgium
Born: March 28, 2002 in Akron, Ohio
Citizenship: United States, Netherlands
Acquired: Philadelphia Union sign forward/midfielder Jack de Vries as a Homegrown Player on August 20, 2019, with the signing effective January 1, 2020.