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Oguchi Onyewu signs with Philadelphia Union

Former U.S. World Cup center back Oguchi Onyewu is coming to MLS after signing with the Philadelphia Union on Monday.

Former U.S. World Cup center back Oguchi Onyewu is coming to MLS after signing with the Philadelphia Union on Monday.

Out of action since 2015, Onyewu will play his club soccer on U.S. soil for the first time after a lengthy and winding career throughout Europe. The 34-year-old Onyewu, who has 69 caps and two World Cups under his belt, joins a number of U.S. internationals with the Union, including recent January call-ups Chris Pontius, Alejandro Bedoya and Keegan Rosenberry, and veterans Maurice Edu and Charlie Davies. 

Onyewu left Clemson University to sign with Metz in France in 2002, beginning a lengthy journey abroad. His stops included La Louviere and Standard Liege in Belgium; Newcastle, AC Milan, FC Twente, Sporting Lisbon, Malaga, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic.

The Washington, D.C.-area native returns to the Mid-Atlantic, where he'll hope to help fortify a defensive unit in need. Only four teams leaked more goals than the Union last season, and the club bowed out of the playoffs in the one-game wildcard round.

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“Oguchi is a big, physical presence who brings experience and veteran professionalism, important traits that we believe will be an asset for our group of young defenders,” Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a club statement. “He provides excellent depth at the center back position and we are pleased that we were able to add him to our squad.”

Fitness will be a big question facing Onyewu, who last played a competitive match almost two years ago–Feb. 7, 2015, for Charlton Athletic. His last U.S. cap came March 5, 2015, in a friendly against Ukraine.