After two strong seasons in the United Soccer League with Bethlehem Steel FC, the Philadelphia Union announced the signing of forward Cory Burke on Thursday.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Burke departs Steel FC as the club’s all-time leader in goals (13), shots (103), shots on goal (40) along with two multi-goal games.
“We are pleased to sign Cory to our First Team and reward his excellent performance with Bethlehem Steel FC,” said Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “Cory’s success is a testament to the importance of Bethlehem in developing players within our organization. Under Brendan Burke and his staff, Cory has been playing in our system for two years now. We anticipate a successful transition to the Union, and we are looking forward to seeing Cory take the next step in his career.”
“We are all very excited for Cory and wish him all the luck as his career progresses,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “He had an excellent year with Steel FC and Jamaica last year and this promotion is well deserved. I hope that his speed, tireless work rate and willingness to adapt based on the team’s needs will serve the first team as well as he has served Bethlehem over his two years with us.”
Burke joined Steel FC ahead of the club’s inaugural season in 2016 on a year-long loan from Jamaican side Rivoli United, where he scored 25 goals in four years with the club. In his debut season with Steel FC, Burke tallied four times in 21 appearances. He joined the team on a permanent deal ahead of the 2017 season, where he went on to score nine times, ranking second on the club. Burke added a pair of assists in each of his two seasons with Steel FC and tallied a pair of braces against Pittsburgh in 2017.
Internationally, Burke has played alongside Union goalkeeper Andre Blake with the Jamaican National Team, earning 13 caps over the past 16 months, scoring twice. He made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Haiti on September 7, 2016. He scored his first international goal just over a month later, tallying against Guyana in Caribbean Cup Qualification on October 12, 2016. He made five appearances in the 2017 Gold Cup, in which Jamaica finished as runners-up.
Burke becomes the second member of the Steel FC to sign a first-team contract with the club’s MLS affiliate, joining midfielder Derrick Jones who joined the Union in 2016.