Last week MLS side Philadelphia Union — in the middle of an extremely successful campaign which has them tied for first place in the Eastern Conference — announced that its 20-year-old attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson had been sold to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, and would join the club after the season.
The reported figure of the sale was $6 million plus bonuses, the largest ever paid for an MLS Homegrown Player. For the Union, the sale was proof of concept for its strategy over the past few years of focusing on the development of its academy.
In a phone call with FTW, Philadelphia Union co-owner Richie Graham talked about the sale, the changing perception of MLS and American players in Europe, and his vision for youth development in this country.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
FTW: Congratulations on this