Paxten Aaronson – Philly's special kid moving to Eintracht Frankfurt

Who is Paxten Aaronson? Philadelphia Union’s breakout star secured a $4m move to Eintracht Frankfurt, clinched the Golden Boot at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship and could be even BETTER than his Leeds United midfielder brother

  • The U.S. is keeping tabs on the 18-year-old ahead of hosting the 2026 World Cup
  • He guided the US’ U-20’s to the U-20 CONCACAF Championship this summer
  • Paxten also won the tournament’s Golden Boot, scoring 7 goals in 7 matches
  • Destined to move to Europe, the teen sensation sealed a transfer to Germany
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While big brother Brenden Aaronson has had a breakout year playing in the Premier League and now the World Cup, Paxten Aaronson is poised to emulate his own journey with 2023 right around the corner.

Paxten, 18, is a product of the Philadelphia Union’s academy system, just like his 22-year-old brother, who played for the club from in 2019-20, scoring seven goals in 51 appearances. Both signed homegrown contracts with the Major League Soccer club.

The younger Aaronson played more than half of the the Union’s 37 games this season featuring in 23 matches, scoring twice, as the team also finished MLS Cup runner-up. 

Paxten Aaronson, 18, is a player that the US has kept an eye for ahead of the 2026 World Cup

Paxten’s older brother, 22-year-old Brenden, plies his trade in the Premier League for Leeds

The two brothers started off their respective soccer careers on homegrown contracts in Philly

Last year, he scored on his first start against the England Revolution despite tasting defeat in a 2-1 loss, though he kept on finding the back on the net with five goals for the Union’s youth team in the MLS Next Pro campaign.

Paxten has been praised as being equally talented — albeit a few years behind in his development — as Brenden, who has broken through to the US national team as it now prepares to host the 2026 World Cup after bowing out to Holland (1-3) in Qatar this winter.

He earned his first nomination for the US Soccer Young Male Player of the Year award after helping lead the US U-20 Men’s Youth National Team to its third-straight confederation title at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship this summer in Honduras, it’s first Olympic berth since 2008 and a ticket to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. 

He also won the Golden Boot at the tournament with seven goals, coming up clutch when it mattered most, as he bagged a brace in the World Cup-clinching quarterfinal vs. Costa Rica, netting the opener against Honduras and adding another two goals in the final against the Dominican Republic.

Paxten has been praised as being equally talented as Brenden after his remarkable scoring run at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Honduras in June, scoring seven goals in seven

Paxten has also been nominated for US Soccer Young Male Player of the Year after guiding the U-20’s to their third -straight confederation title at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship

Following a breakout 2021 MLS season, Paxten signed with Eintracht Frankfurt in November

Brenden shared a childhood photo of himself (left) with Paxten (right) on Instagram after his brother’s move to Europe was confirmed for $4million

His performances for the Star and Stripes’ U-20s team have excited American soccer fans and now that the sun has set in Qatar, they will get to see much more of the 18-year-old following his $4million to transfer to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. 

‘Every American player wants to go over to Europe if they get the chance and Paxten’s very confident about this opportunity,’ Ernst Tanner, Philadelphia Union’s sporting director, once told The Athletic. ‘I’ve taught him a couple of German words already. I joked with him about how to say he’s better than his brother! There’s only excitement in him.’  

In the fall of 2020, it was announced that Brendan was headed to Austria to play for Red Bull Salzburg – a five-hour-and-a-half drive from Frankfurt – for a record transfer fee for a homegrown player in the MLS.

Brenden caught the eyes of Leeds Untied after impressing in the Champions League last year

Brenden’s only goal in the Premier League, so far this season, came in a 3-0 win vs. Chelsea

Also operating as an attacking midfielder, just like his younger brother, ‘The Medford Messi’, as people in his hometown in New Jersey like to call him, scored nine goals in 46 appearances to propel Salzburg to its ninth straight Austrian Bundesliga title at the end of the 2021-22 season. 

His performances in the Champions League that year also caught the eye of several English Premier League clubs, as he helped guide RB Salzburg to the tournament’s knockout stage, delivering an assist in a shock 1-1 first-leg draw with Bayern Munich in the Round of 16. He picked up an assist in the second leg, too, although the team was soundly beaten 7-1. 

Leeds United eventually signed Brenden for $29.8million. The White are coached by U.S. midfielder Jesse Marsch. The Union stood to get a portion of the transfer fee paid to Salzburg. 

Brenden representing the US at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar against Holland in a 3-1 defeat

‘It’s a wild ride if you really look back how quickly Brenden has risen — on the field, most importantly,’ Union coach Jim Curtin told The Associated Press in May after Brenden’s move to England was sealed.

‘The dollars are the dollars and certainly that’s great and that’s part of our model and it certainly helps the league, it helps ownership, helps everything. It’s really good the money side of things, but to watch the kid now go in the last 18 months from great MLS player to a great national team player to a great player in Europe.’

‘I think the Aaronson genetics, they have something in them that they rise to the occasion. They don’t shrink,’ he added. 

Paxten (far left) has named his Leeds United midfielder brother as an inspiration to follow

Brenden appeared in 14 matches for Leeds until the extended international break, scoring one goal against Chelsea to help his side secure their first victory over the Blues for 20 years. 

Meanwhile, back home in the US, Paxten has been drawing his inspiration from his brother for a while now.

‘His pathway to where he’s gotten now with the national team, with the accomplishments and all the trophies and so on in such a short time with Salzburg, it’s kind of taken the perfect path,’ he told The Associated Press in May.

‘Young homegrown, started with the first team at Philly, got good minutes, won the Supporters Shield then made the jump to Europe, and he’s done really well and has had success.’

So it’s an inspiration for me and for sure, I want to follow in his footsteps.’ 

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