Hellooooooo, everyone! Are y'all ready for some soccer because let me tell you, the offseason is rapidly coming to a close.
I talked to Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath today (Tuesday) for a bit. You'll see the majority of that interview in a SuperDraft preview story to run this Friday. But he said some interesting things that I thought I'd share with you now.
The Loons so far have only three new acquisitions this offseason: Harrison Heath (the coach's son) from a trade with Atlanta United, Tyrone Mears from the re-entry draft and Frantz Pangop from Cameroon. That leaves the current roster at 24 players out of 30 possible. But don't count on two of those players, as Johan Venegas is on loan in his native Costa Rica and Vadim Demidov is still on his way out.
"Obviously, we're getting to the stage now where we've got to make a decision on one or two things," Heath said. "Amos [Magee, director of player personnel] is in Europe at this moment, gets back in the next day or so, and I think that will be when we actually sit down and go, 'What do we want to pull the trigger on? Is this the way forward? Is this the way we're going to do?' So the next week to 10 days in the build-up to the start of preseason, I think we should be, we're hoping that there will be a lot more activity."
United has three picks in the upcoming draft, so that's a possible place to add some players. And sporting director Manny Lagos did say this past summer the club was looking to add one or two designated players (usually prominent players who make more than the salary cap restrictions) for this season. He's since walked back on that a bit, but it's still a possibility with training camp set to begin Jan. 22 and the season March 3.
"In a perfect world, you would, sometimes you have to wait, especially if they're overseas players with ITCs, international clearances, getting visas, getting them into the country, all that sort of stuff takes a little bit longer than you would like at times," Heath said. "But obviously, this window, this January window for Europe especially, is hugely important for us to make a decision sooner rather than later."
Also, randomly, I talked to winger Miguel Ibarra last week about his buddy Christian Ramirez's call-up to the U.S. national team. He told me that he and Ramirez had been practicing together every day this offseason, partly back in Southern California where they're from and partly back here in Minnesota at the National Sports Center. Ibarra said that minus the handful of days where Ramirez went to Hawaii with his wife and Ibarra went on a cruise, it's been all work. So that's kind of fun. Those two, plus Ethan Finlay and Brent Kallman, were the players that stuck around the Twin Cities this offseason.
OK, I've got more United coverage coming at you later this week, and from then on, we're back at it again full time. So get ready, folks.