While much of the speculation about the Union's next homegrown player has centered on teen forward Christian Hernandez, a league source confirmed to the Daily News that the Union has selected midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin as its next young star.
According to the source, the Union is expected to make the announcement later today and will bypass today's Stage 2 of MLS' entry draft. McLaughlin, 18, is the Union's second homegrown player; Upper Dublin's Zach Pfeffer was announced last December. McLaughlin, who attended Great Valley High in Malvern, played this past season at Colgate, where he was the only freshman to start every game was named Patriot League rookie of the year.
Local through and through, McLaughlin is an FC Delco product, who along with Hernandez participated in the Union's July friendly against Everton and made a serious impression. McLaughlin also has been called up to participate in reserve league matches.
"Jimmy McLaughlin came on and did a fantastic job," Union assistant John Hackworth told reporters following the 1-0 win over Everton. "You wouldn't even know he wasn't a pro the way he played."
Per the MLS, McLaughlin's contract terms won't be disclosed when the Union announce his signing. But considering this puts McLaughlin out of the running for January's SuperDraft and already has met the criteria for league approval, it can be assumed that McLaughlin won't be joining the squad at league minimum.
To put it in perspective, Pfeffer, 16, collected $65,000 in guaranteed compensation this past season. The league minimum is $42,000 for players in roster spots 1-20 and $32,600 for players under the age of 25 in roster positions 25-30.
McLaughlin will be the Union's third signing of the offseason. Former Vancouver midfielder Nizar Khalfan signed in November and Costa Rican international Josue Martinez signed last week.