Union send Mark McKenzie to Europe

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Dan Roche
·2 min read
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Union send another star to Europe originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Union made it official Thursday, transferring defender Mark McKenzie to Belgian club to KRC Genk, a deal worth a reported $6 million.

He is the second homegrown Union player transferred to Europe this offseason, following Brenden Aaronson being sent to Austrian squad Red Bull Salzburg on Jan. 1, a deal that was consummated back in October.

McKenzie, who was raised in Bear, Delaware, was a part of the franchise pipeline for a decade, signing up to play for Union Juniors at the age of 11 and making his MLS debut during the 2018 season at the age of 19.

In all, McKenzie played 48 games for the Union (46 starts), scoring twice and notching three assists. He was named to the MLS Best XI and was runner-up for MLS Defender of the Year. He also played his first two career games for the U.S. men’s national team this past year.

“Mark has been a reliable and skilled center back, one of the best defenders in our league this year,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “His dedication to training, learning and drive to improve paired with his passion, moral grounding, and personality off the field, makes him an invaluable member of any team and locker room. He will most certainly be missed at the Union, but I am so proud of him and have no doubt Mark will excel with Genk." 

Thursday’s move could prove even more beneficial for the Union in the long term. They included performances bonuses in the deal, as the team also will get a percentage of any future transfer fees, should McKenzie get sold to another team down the road.