READING, PA (January 8, 2018) – Bethlehem Steel FC announced today the signing of former Reading United standout midfielder Zach Zandi to a USL Championship contract ahead of the upcoming 2019 season. Bethlehem Steel are the USL Championship affiliate of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. Reading United A.C. are the official USL League 2 partner of the Union.
Zandi becomes the fourth former Reading United player to sign with Steel FC. Bethlehem Steel also signed former Reading stars Nick Bibbs, Mike Catalano and Charlie Reymann, a teammate of Zandi’s on United’s 2016 team.
Zandi, who played collegiately with Villanova University, spent three seasons with Reading United from 2016 through 2018. The Philadelphia Union Academy graduate featured in 30 matches for United, including five appearances for the club in U.S. Open Cup play.
While playing for Villanova, Zandi registered 14 goals and 10 assists over his four seasons with the Wildcats, including seven goals in 2018. The West Chester, Pennsylvania native earned numerous honors in his time at Villanova including being named to the 2018 All Big East Second Team, the 2016 Big East All-Academic Team and the 2017 Philadelphia Soccer Six Player of the Year.
The Reading alum’s most memorable match in a United jersey came in a 2016 clash with division rivals, the Ocean City Nor’easters. Zandi scored twice in Reading’s 2-0 road win over the Nor’easters. The midfielder also played a vital role in United’s 2018 regular season finale, tallying two assists to spark Reading’s rally from a two goal deficit to score a 3-2 win over Lehigh Valley United to secure the club’s first ever unbeaten regular season.
On learning the news of Zandi signing with Bethlehem Steel FC, Reading United Head Coach Alan McCann said, “Zach has been a major key to the success Reading has had in recent years performing at a pro level in games and training. He is a great character off the field and deserves every success. It is great to see him continue his journey with the club and all of us at Reading wish him the best of luck."
In the Bethlehem Steel release announcing Zandi’s signing, former Reading United head coach Stephen Hogan, now an assistant coach with the Steel, spoke highly of Zandi, saying, “Zach was a vital part of Reading's success over the last three seasons, has an exceptional ability on the ball, is a very intelligent player in between the lines and consistently caused opponents problems with his decisions. He definitely has the work rate off the ball that we need and we are very excited to see him develop.”