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Who Will Be the Next Union Captain?
- Updated: January 14, 2013
With the departure of the Philadelphia Union’s current captain Carlos Valdes, the team must move forward and by doing so, the club will need a new leader on and off the pitch. The club is one of the youngest in MLS, but some of the young guns are MLS vets in the stat books.
The current vice-captain Brian Carroll is one the most capped players on the Union. He has filled as captain when Valdes was hurt and proven to be a leader. He has played in the MLS since 2003 with DC and Columbus, and joined the Union 2011. Carroll played college soccer at Wake Forest University from 2000 to 2002, and he was named captain as a sophomore. As a junior, he was again team captain, an All-American, and was a finalist for the Hermnan Trophy. Carroll also has suited up in the red, white and blue for the USA eight times. He may lack the fire and personality of a normal vocal captain, but his hustle and fight are enough that head coach John Hackworth will consider him first.
Another couple of names to throw around are keeper Zac MacMath, defender Sheanon Williams and re-acquired forward Sebastien Le Toux. While MacMath may be too young at 21 for this role, in years to come he will be a leader for this club for sure. Williams has been with club since its first year and his blue-collar efforts make him a fan favorite. He has been known to hang out with fans off the field, so this gives him that local connection. His hard work up the ranks of the USL also gives him a “Rocky” image. My darkhorse pick is Jeff Parke the off-season defender the club picked up from Seattle. Parke is a Philadelphia native and played his college ball at Drexel. He knows Philly and its people and recently was called up to camp with the U.S. National Team.
Finally, there is Sebastien “Seba” Le Toux, the most popular Frenchman in Philadelphia, the icon that was traded a year ago and re-signed at the end of 2012. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Union. He can spark the team emotionally on the pitch during any game. He is a player the crowd loves to get behind. Until his trade away from the club, he was the face of the franchise and one of the most worn jerseys in the stands. His never die attitude makes him the fan pick for captain for sure.
Obviously, Hackworth won’t pick a new captain over night, but he could make this an open competition going into camp this Winter. As a coach, what a better way to start the pre-season than with the veterans trying to prove to their coach that they are a leader. This could/would create a lot positive energy for the club. It would be a good way for the vets to make a good example for the rookies and new faces.