By: Cole White
You can officially add Maurice Edu to the list of United States national team players who are coming home and finding a place with a team in Major League Soccer. First Dempsey, then Bradley, followed by Parkhurst, and now Edu. All four have returned home, and now play in the league in which they first made a name for themselves. Granted, Edu isn’t as big of a name as Dempsey or Bradley nor does he see the same amount of playing time with the United States national tea, but his return to the league continues a recent trend that hopefully continues on. As MLS is being purged of young talent in the likes of Camilo Sanvezzi, Juan Agudelo, Jose Villareal, Michael Farfan, and Rafael Baca, it’s important that players such as Edu return home to strengthen the league, and help it’s continuing growth.
On Monday, Philadelphia announced Edu has been obtained from Stoke City FC on a season-long loan, with the option to purchase at loan’s end, and will be a Designated Player. Unlike Dempsey and Bradley, whose transfer fees were partially paid by the league, Philadelphia acquired Edu through the MLS allocation process, according to the league. The league did not pay any part of Edu’s loan purchase. Philadelphia traded up to the top of the allocation order shortly before the 2014 MLS SuperDraft in a deal involving Jeff Parke being sent to DC United in exchange for the Ethan White, and each team switching allocation spots. This resulted in Philadelphia moving up to first, while United moved down to sixth.
Edu comes to MLS from Stoke City FC after spending only a little over a year with the English Premier League club. He moved to Stoke in August 2012 after spending four seasons with Rangers FC of the Scottish Premier League. In his time in the English Premier League, Edu only made one appearance, as he came on in the 80th minute in a 0-0 draw against Liverpool. Edu didn’t make another appearance for Stoke City in the 2012-2013 Premier League season, but was loaned to Bursapor of the Turkish Süper Lig in January of 2013. He made 12 appearances for the club during his half-season loan. As for his second season in the Premier League, Edu didn’t even make a bench appearance for any of Stoke City’s so-far played games in the 2013-2014 Premier League season.
In 2007, Edu was drafted by Toronto FC with the first overall pick of the MLS SuperDraft, won the MLS Rookie of the Year award, and even earned a couple of caps with the senior national team. He spurned the league a year later to join Rangers FC, and now has returned in search of playing time in hopes of making the 23-man roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Fellow United States national team player Michael Parkhurst has recently done the same as he signed with Columbus Crew two weeks ago after struggling to find playing time during his two seasons with FC Augsburg of the German Bundesliga. Parkhurst, who’s been called up for the January training camp and February friendly with South Korea, may have an easier time making the 2014 World Cup roster as he was regularly called up to games in 2013, earning eight caps, while Edu only earned two.