For as long as Brenden Aaronson has been part of the Union — and that’s nearly a decade, counting his youth days — the team has known he isn’t the only big-time prospect in the family from Medford, N.J. His brother Paxten, three years younger at 16, has been on the way up the ranks, too.
Last month, Paxten made his debut with the Union’s minor-league USL team, Union II. Earlier this month, he made his first start. Now, the Union have laid out more of his path forward, signing him to his first pro contract. He’ll spend the rest of this year in the USL, then move up to MLS in 2021.
Similar to Brenden, Paxten Aaronson is a creative midfielder who can play in the middle or on the left. And while he might not be well-known to local fans yet, Paxten has been on the radar of people who matter for a while. He was invited to a U.S. under-14 national team camp three years ago, and has been in a range of age group-based camps since then.
“At 16 years old, Paxten already knows how to create opportunities for himself and his teammates on the pitch,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. “He has impressed our technical staff with his ability to play a final ball, and he’s an intelligent player and a hard worker.”
Tanner also called Paxten “probably a little bit bit of a different personality than Brenden, and he is certainly more a No. 10 and more of a goal-scorer than Brenden.”
“I’ve seen him grow, and I’ve seen the player that he is, and he’s going to be very special,” Brenden said of his brother on the Best Soccer Show podcast Sunday night. “I can’t wait to watch him play more and more in these professional games. If he keeps working hard and doing the things that he’s been doing from a young age, he’s going to be a really special player.”
Union II coach Marlon LeBlanc said Paxten has “fantastic energy, ability to unbalance his opponent off the dribble, and his vision to connect passes is tremendous.”
The question now is whether Brenden and Paxten will ever play together for the Union. For that to happen, the team would have to hold onto Brenden until next spring, and that seems unlikely. Though the reports of foreign interest in Brenden have slowed since the MLS tournament ended, they’re likely to heat up again as European teams get into their preseason training camps.