Jack McInerney called up to US national team for first time and can't even legally have a drink to celebrate

Jack McInerney called up to US national team for first time and can't even legally have a drink to celebrate

This is a really big deal.

Jack McInerney, the Philadelphia Union’s 20-year-old rising star, was named to the Gold Cup roster today, becoming the first Philadelphia Union player to be called up to the US senior national team for a competitive tournament.

Quick reminder: a little more than 12 months ago, he didn’t even feature on the Union’s 18-man roster (more due to former manager Peter Nowak’s reluctance to play him than his own talent).

Now, he’s poised to be on the same team as Landon Donovan, perhaps the greatest American soccer player ever and a growing fan of McInerney’s.

One more reminder: McInerney is not even of legal drinking age yet.

Again, this is a really big deal. And it’s rare.

The other night, I did some research and discovered there have been very few younger American players ever called up to the Gold Cup. Here is the list since 2000: Juan Agudelo (2011), Freddy Adu (2009), Michael Bradley (2007), Santino Quaranta (2005), Bobby Convey (2003), DaMarcus Beasley (2002) and Landon Donovan (2002)

You might recognize some of those names.

Does this mean McInerney is on the fast track to the World Cup? Not necessarily. And US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is already trying to manage the expectations around him.

But no matter if the 20-year-old striker features or not during the July tournament, just making the squad is a serious accomplishment for him – and for the Union.

And we should probably expect a stirring send-off for him when he plays his final game Saturday at PPL Park vs. FC Dallas (5:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports) before leaving to do what no other Union player has ever done before him.

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com, CSNPhilly.com and The 700 Level. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

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Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

This is starting to become a trend. One Temple hopes to continue to prove wrong.

For the third straight year, Temple was chosen to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. The poll, which was released on Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.

Also selected to finish sixth last season, the Owls posted a 21-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the AAC to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2014-15, TU tied for third in the AAC with a 13-5 record and was one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

Cincinnati was tabbed to win the American title in the poll, just ahead of UConn.

Temple, who returns three starters from last season's team, opens the 2016-17 campaign against city rival La Salle at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 11.