Minnesota United has reached an agreement for one season with the United Soccer League's new Forward Madison FC in Wisconsin and in 2020 will reach a permanent agreement with a USL franchise to loan primarily young players back and forth between MLS and USL play.
The one-year partnership announced Friday for the 2019 season allows the Loons to send players on loan to Madison with the option to recall them at any time.
It also allows for shared scouting and technical resources between the teams as well opportunities for scrimmages.
United officials envision using the partnership to develop young players such as Abu Danladi, Mason Toye, Carter Manley and Wyatt Omsberg with game experience they might not yet get in MLS play. The Loons also could assign veteran players to Madison for games on their way back from injury.
Forward Madison FC is a founding member of the USL League One and will play its inaugural season in 2019.
Minnesota United sporting director Manny Lagos made the announcement Friday morning in Madison. He cited the teams' proximity as an attribute the Loons will seek when choosing a permanent affiliation starting in the 2020 season.
A permanent arrangement with a USL team will be much like the agreement the Timberwolves have with a G League's Iowa Wolves team they now own. That allows the NBA team to hire and train its own coaches and staff at the G League level and shuttle players back and forth between the leagues.