The U.S. Check.
Tomer Chencinski has become a bit of a globetrotter over his young career, spending time in some of the world’s most diverse footballing countries.
Now Chencinski sees himself closer to yet another opportunity with the MLS Philadelphia Union. The young goalkeeper started the season with the USL-2 Harrisburg City Islanders, but impressed enough to gain a chance to train with the Union and potentially serve as their third keeper.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to say the least. I am very excited to train at the best level in North America, who wouldn’t be?” Chencinski commented. ”I feel like this will help keep me sharp and focused on the task at hand: to improve as a keeper. I’m just excited and eager to start.”
Chencinski finished the USL-2 season strong with 5 starts, 450 minutes played, 20 saves, and a 1.60 GAA. It was impressive that Chencinski saw any time, considering former NYRB keeper Danny Cepero can also be found on the City Islanders’ roster. Chencinski is an MLS quality keeper who spent the 2007 season with Toronto FC, but also counts Moldovan National Divison club FC Nistru Otaci, MISL club Detroit Ignition, PDL club Newark Inbound Express, and Israeli Premier League sides Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem among his former teams.
The opportunity to train with the expansion Union could prove to be a turning point in the Israeli keeper’s career. He has been waiting for the chance to gain some exposure at a higher level and this looks to be the right opportunity at the right time.
“Taking from my past experiences with Toronto FC and playing overseas, it’s not a question of whether physically I can’t do it, but am I mentally ready, and I feel that I am,” the young keeper continued. “Past experiences have helped me because I feel like I have already been there, so I’m not really out of my comfort zone.”
The Union placed Brian Perk on waivers in early August and now have only two goalkeepers on the pro roster: Brad Knighton and Chris Seitz. There is little chance that Perk will be coming back to Philadelphia as he was claimed off waivers by the L.A. Galaxy on August 4th.
Neither Knighton and Seitz can hardly be considered All-Star quality keepers so there is room for improvement and room for Chencinski, who provides the Union with much needed international experience.
“I have played in some diverse places, but it helped me develop as a player. I feel that any experience in life is there for a reason,” Chencinski explained. “Moldova was crazy. Israel was beautiful. Soccer there is great. The only thing are the crazy fans. One second they love you, the next they want to sell you.”
Hopefully Philadelphia will be the final stop on Chencinski’s self-tour of international soccer.