Who is Brenden Aaronson?

FPL Reactions has taken a deep dive into Leeds new signing Brenden Aaronson. He considers why Leeds fans and FPL managers alike should be excited.

You can read FPL Reactions original thread here.

His early years:

Aaronson was brought up in New Jersey and attended high school for just one year before being picked for Philadelphia Unions academy (YSC Academy). YSC Academy was founded in 2013 for student athletes, between 2015-2018 was where he spent his youth.

Aaronson signed his first amateur contract in 2017 with Bethlehem Steel FC. Bethlehem Steel FC was an official affiliate of Philadelphia Union and so was named Philadelphia II. Competing in MLS Next Pro where reserve sides of MLS clubs play, Aaronsen scored his first goal.

Philadelphia Union

In 2018 Aaronson was told he would be joining the first team at Philadelphia Union for their 2019 season. He went onto score his first professional goal in his MLS debut against Atlanta United.

Playing multiple attacking roles from a number 10 to a left and right sided attacker however you’ll see below in his first season he predominantly played on the left in his first professional season.

Courtesy of Sofa Score

Aaronson finished his first season with 27 domestic league starts, 3 goals and 1 assist for Philadelphia Union first team. The starlet also came 2nd for MLS Rookie of the Year.

In his second professional season for Philadelphia Union Aaronson managed another 27 appearances in the MLS league, scoring 4 goals and creating 5 assists accumulating to 9 goal contributions, an improvement on the season before.

You’ll see that in his second season with Philadelphia Union his position changed from predominantly left sided attacking to predominantly right sided attacking but with much more attacking movements in the oppositions box.

Courtesy of Sofa Score

You can see from the heat maps that Aaronson has great versatility already and thats reflected even more as we progress through his career so far. His second season ultimately earned him being named in the MLS BEST XI.

Helping his team to achieve the best league record which resulted in them winning 2020 Supporters Shield.

Check out his highlights at Philadelphia Union.

Red Bull Salzburg

In 2020/21 season Aaronson joined Austrian side FC Red Bull Salzburg, a team regularly playing in European competitions, one of his dreams he once admitted, the fee was around 4.6 million pound.

This is where the young American spent half a year with Jesse Marsch (now manager of Leeds), this is what he said about Marsch: “With the half a year I played under him he taught me a lot. He taught me how to score goals and get assists”.

In his first season in Austria Aaronson managed 15 starts (20 appearances) scoring 5 goals and creating 5 assists, 10 goal contributions and a goal every other match. You’ll see his positioning once again swap over in his first Salzburg season to left sided attacker.

Courtesy of Sofa Score

His first taste of European football ended in defeat for himself and Salzburg however went on to win the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup in his first season Going into his 2nd season with Salzburg in 21/23 season the 21 year old played in 26 matches.

Scoring 4 goals and creating 4 assists, and positionally it was only right for this thread that again swapped from left to predominantly a right sided attacker again although lots of central positioning too.

His second season at Salzburg again ended in success winning both the League and Cup again.

Take a look at some of his highlights.

Only this time his talent took him to the biggest domestic club competition on the planet, the Champions League.

Managing to get to the last round of 16 seeing off European regulars like Sevilla, Lille and Wolfsburg in the group stages, the Austrian champions were everything that reflect the way Aaronson plays, exciting and attacking, starting 8 matches and creating 2 assists.


The progression of Aaronson’s career continued with his first senior call up in 2019 for the CONCACAF nations league. 2020 is where he earned his second senior call up against Costa Rica, he then went onto score his first international goal in a 6-0 win for the USA.

In 18 matches played for his country the Aaronson scored 5 goals and created 4 assist, an attacking contribution every other match. Scoring against Jamaica, Costa Rica, Canada and Honduras. As well as assists against Switzerland, Jamaica and Honduras.

Positionally Aaronson was used both as a left and right sided attacker, once again showing his great versatility. Check him out against Canada.

Highlighting his strengths:

  • Tactically adaptable
  • Versatility in attacking areas
  • Passing
  • Dribbling
  • Off the ball movement
  • Defensive work
  • Ball carrying
  • Fast dribbling
  • Great presser

Great qualities that Leeds will need.

Quote from Aaronsons former Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin


In my opinion an exciting young player who I’ve watched both in the UCL and for the USA, and really think he’ll thrive in England, add him to your FPL watchlists.

Read more about Aaronson’s new club Leeds here.

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