Union head coach Jim Curtin hopes to get European chance in future

Jim Curtin has done a superb job turning the Philadelphia Union into one of the more competitive sides in Major League Soccer and although his focus remains on the upcoming MLS Cup Playoffs, he wasn’t shy about his future goals as a head coach.

Curtin joined CBS Sports HQ on Monday evening to preview his team’s first round showdown with the New York Red Bulls on November 20, but also was asked about his future in management. The Oreland, Pennsylvania native stated he would “love to test himself in Europe someday”, hinting that a move could come if the right opportunity presents itself.

Curtin, 42, has served as head coach of the Union since 2014, helping the club win the 2020 Supporters’ Shield, reach the Concacaf Champions League semifinals this season, and also reach the U.S. Open Cup finals in 2014, 2015, and 2018. The Union have gone 116-67-97 during Curtin’s time as head coach, continuing to force their way into the conversation as a consistent threat in the Eastern Conference.

Not only has Curtin helped lead the club to recent success, but he’s provided early opportunities for several of the club’s homegrown talent. Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie, and Auston Trusty are just a few of the academy products that have excelled for the Union before moving on to new situations. Aaronson and McKenzie have become regular squad players for the U.S. Men’s National Team while Trusty recently helped the Colorado Rapids claim the No. 1 seed for the Western Conference Playoffs.

A new crop of players have forced their way into Curtin’s squad this season, including Paxten Aaronson, Jack McGlynn, and Quinn Sullivan, all of whom are with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in Mexico for the ongoing Revelations Cup. Curtin’s ability to develop young talent has helped the Union not only remain a competitor in MLS, but eventually earn a decent profit for transfers (Aaronson, McKenzie were sold in 2020 to European clubs Red Bull Salzburg and Genk respectively).

Should Curtin make the move to Europe, he would follow in the footsteps of past and present American managers. Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter both served as head coaches in Europe while former New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch is now at German club RB Leipzig after originally serving as an assistant with Leipzig before earning a chance with Salzburg in Austria.

For now, the goal for Curtin will be to lead the Union to a first-ever MLS Cup final appearances this December.

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at

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