The Philadelphia Union now have their two starting center backs locked into long-term deals.
Eight months after Jack Elliott inked a deal until the 2021 season, Mark McKenzie signed a new contract that is guaranteed until the end of the 2022 campaign.
“We’re excited to have come to an agreement on a new contract with Mark, solidifying his spot on our team. As a homegrown player, he exemplifies our commitment to the development of our academy players,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement Thursday. “Mark has become a proven asset on and off the field. Through his development, he’s become a valuable centerback who sees everything in front of him and is an emerging role model in the community.”
McKenzie’s deal also comes with options for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. That means he could partner with Elliott for at least two years, and possibly three since the Englishman has an option in his deal for 2022.
The duo was confirmed as the front-runners for the starting jobs at the start of the offseason, when the Union shipped Auston Trusty to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for up to $750,000 in allocation money.
McKenzie will not be with the Union when they open up preseason camp Monday since he is currently part of the U.S. men’s national team camp for the second year in a row.
In two seasons, McKenzie has played in 26 games and started both of the club’s playoff contests in the 2019 campaign.