By Rudy Campbell

The Union has reached a transfer agreement with FC Red Bull Salzburg for homegrown midfielder Brenden Aaronson.

The deal, which is the Union’s first outgoing European transfer, includes a multi-million-dollar transfer fee, as well as additional performance-based bonuses, for the highest ever transfer fee for a U.S.-based homegrown player. The Union will also retain a percentage of any future transfer fees for Aaronson.

Aaronson, 19, a product of the Philly Union Academy, will finish the 2020 MLS season with the Union before joining FC Red Bull Salzburg. He will be eligible to play for FC Red Bull Salzburg when the international transfer window reopens in January 2021.

“We are very proud of Brenden and what he has accomplished in such a short amount of time,” said Philadelphia Union Principal Owner Jay Sugarman. “Player development is one of the three core areas we want to excel at to build our club into a consistent winner and giving players a chance to continually challenge themselves is part of that ideology. Brenden’s success will inspire everyone involved in developing our young talent and will be just one of many success stories we expect to see out of our academy in the coming years. I wish Brenden the best at Red Bull Salzburg. I know he’ll always have Philadelphia and the Union in his heart and I look forward to seeing what his future holds.”

A local product from Medford, NJ, Aaronson first joined Union Juniors at age 11 and remained with the academy throughout his youth. After initially committing to Indiana University his junior year, Aaronson decided to turn professional, signing a Homegrown Player deal on September 17, 2018 that saw him join the first team ahead of the 2019 season.

In his club and league debut, Aaronson started and scored at Atlanta United on March 17, 2019. Now in his second season with the club, he has recorded seven goals and five assists in 42 matches, 39 of which he has started.

Aaronson earned his first senior US Men’s National Team call-up in October of 2019 for a pair of Concacaf Nations League matches following appearances at multiple levels of the US Men’s Youth National Team setup, including the U-15s, U-19s and U-23s. He earned his first cap in a friendly against Costa Rica (February 1, 2020), where he featured in the starting XI, playing 66 minutes in the 1-0 victory. Aaronson was most recently selected to the U.S. Men’s Olympic Qualifier team last March.

Aaronson will join FC Red Bull Salzburg, who have won fourteen league titles, seven Austrian Cups and three Austrian Supercups. The club, known for its impressive development of players like Erling Haaland and Sadio Mane, has qualified for Champions League play for the second consecutive year.