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Bucks Standout Najem Acquired by Union

By AARON CRANFORD - aaron.cranford@uslsoccer.com, 02/08/17, 3:15PM EST

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2016 PDL Creative Player of the Year becomes latest PDL alum to earn MLS contract


Photo courtesy of Michigan Bucks / Adam Najem (second from left) holds the 2016 PDL Championship trophy

Following a sensational 2016, which included winning the Premier Development League Championship with the Michigan Bucks, Adam Najem has joined the Philadelphia Union after being acquired from the New York Red Bulls.

Najem, who was named 2016 PDL Creative Player of the Year, was a four-year standout performer for the University of Akron, scoring 33 goals and providing 29 assists in 89 total appearances. Named 2016 MAC Player of the Year, Najem also was a four-time first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection.

“We are excited to acquire the rights to Adam and sign him as a member of Philadelphia Union,” Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a release. “He is a player that has shown his abilities throughout his collegiate career and continued that this preseason. Adam is a player that provides depth for us and we are thrilled to see what he will bring to our club.”

Najem, who scored two goals and provided two assists in two appearances during the 2015 PDL campaign, was ranked No. 4 overall in the first edition of the 2016 PDL Top Prospects list on May 25. The dynamic midfielder finished the PDL regular season with one goal and nine assists in 11 games played, earning a No. 8 spot on the final edition of the 2016 PDL Top Prospects list. For his exceptional performance during the 2016 college regular season, Najem was ranked as the Top PDL Midfielder in university.

“I believe Adam is a technically- and tactically-gifted player, who has the ability to make great decisions, even under the most intense pressure,” Bucks Head Coach Demir Muftari said in November. “His attitude is as impressive as his play – very driven to get the most out of himself and his teammates. I believe he will have a smooth transition into the next level, and expect him to have a long and prosperous career.”

Najem becomes the latest PDL alum to earn a professional contract in 2017. Among the many who have signed their first pro deal in this year include Des Moines Menace standout Sam Brotherton, who inked a contract with English Premier League club Sunderland A.F.C. A total of 59 former PDL players were selected in the 2017 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, and numerous standouts, including Jose Hernandez, Arun Basuljevic and Sergio Camargo, have signed Homegrown Player contracts with MLS teams.


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