Philadelphia Union today announced that defender Mark McKenzie has signed as a Homegrown Player with the club’s First Team. An 18-year-old centerback from Bear, Delaware, McKenzie becomes the eighth Homegrown Player in Union history.
On the Union’s First Team, McKenzie joins fellow newcomer Matt Real as well as Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty and Anthony Fontana as active Homegrown Players. A product of the Union Academy, McKenzie played last season at Wake Forest University after making eight appearances for Bethlehem Steel FC as an amateur.
“We’re delighted to have Mark begin his professional career by joining us as a Homegrown Player this season,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Mark is a promising centerback who made an impact for Wake Forest last year, a very good team at the collegiate level. It’s special any time you sign a Homegrown, and Mark is no exception. In this case, he made a difficult decision to leave school to sign with us, and we don’t take that lightly. We look forward to helping him with his development as he takes the next step with the Union.”
McKenzie joins the Union after one season at Wake Forest University, where he appeared in 16 matches as a freshman in 2017, playing 685 minutes for a team that finished in fifth place in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I final postseason rankings. He helped the school to a 19-2-2 record over his one year with the Demon Deacons.
Prior to joining Wake Forest, McKenzie starred for the Union Academy, making 26 starts over his final two years with the Under-18s. He also appeared for Steel FC eight times as an amateur (twice in 2016, six times in 2017). He played his club soccer for the Delaware Rush and the Wilmington Rangers before coming to the Union Academy.
Internationally, McKenzie recently returned from the inaugural United States Youth National Team Summit Camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, where he was with the United States Under-20 National Team. He previously played for the U-18s while also attending camps for the U-16s and U-15s.