A coaching hire and player signings, two key elements of Minnesota United's hectic offseason, are underway this week.
With the team set to begin Major League Soccer play in just four months, the Loons are conducting interviews with players who were on the 2016 roster. Players are meeting one-on-one with Sporting Director Manny Lagos at the club's office at the National Sports Center in Blaine to learn their professional future. Some players will be released during this process, which runs through next week, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
In addition, the club is vetting a short list of head coaches. The list includes Carl Craig, who led the Loons to a 11-13-8 record in his coaching debut this season. The team remained in the North American Soccer League playoff hunt until a loss in the season's final match.
The club is also preparing for the Dec. 13 expansion draft of players made available by other MLS teams. Atlanta, which enters MLS with Minnesota in 2017, holds the first pick. Minnesota drafts second, and the teams alternate picks for the remainder of the five-round draft. The list of eligible players and free agents will be released on Dec. 12.
Minnesota holds the first pick in the college SuperDraft taking place Jan. 13.
Training camps open Jan. 23. United has not said publicly where it plans to train. Minnesota will play the 2017 season and part of the 2018 season at TCF Bank Stadium before moving into a new home in St. Paul.