Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.

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Replacing Altman? "It takes a village"

Posted by: Jon Marthaler under Soccer Updated: July 31, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Minnesota United FC has yet to name a permanent captain to replace the now-retired Kyle Altman - but, as far as vice-captain Brian Kallman is concerned, replacing that leadership won't be the work of one man. "It's hard for one person to step in and fill that role," said the 29-year-old defender. "It's like the old saying: it takes a village to raise a village."

Earlier this week, Kallman sat down with five other senior players on the team - goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel, defenders Connor Tobin and Kevin Friedland, midfielder Aaron Pitchkolan, and striker Pablo Campos  -  to try to assemble a leadership committee of sorts, in the hopes of filling that vacuum.

"Between the six of us, we can kind of reach out to the whole team," said Kallman. "Maybe some of the guys won't listen to me, but they will listen to Connor, or maybe some of the guys will listen to me but not to Matt. If I wear the armband on game days, so be it; if not, I’m not going to care. Whether I wear the armband or not, I’m still going to be a leader, I’m still going to work hard and set the tone at training."

Over the past couple of years, United has depended on a close-knit locker room to give themselves an extra boost, and that team togetherness was a big reason that the club had two successful playoff runs. This year, Minnesota brought in a bunch of new players, and Kallman admits that the atmosphere in the locker room was "similar," not the same. "I think there were some locker room issues that were resolved with the trade," he said, referring to the deal that sent Bryan Arguez to Carolina.

"We had a lot of people on board who were willing to buy in," said Kallman. "We’re trying to get it back to where it has been, and I don’t think it’ll be too hard, because most of the guys on the team are going to buy into what we want to do and buy into that locker room culture. If the older guys all hold each other accountable, and hold the team accountable, then I think we’ll be able to manage it. "

It might just be a matter of adding the right players to the squad, and Minnesota has three new ones for the fall - and Kallman is excited about all three. "Sinisa [Ubiparipovic] is as old as I am. He’s played professional soccer for eight years. Calum Mallace is a Minnesota guy, he’s happy to be back here. Floyd Franks is another one, he’s my age as well; he’s been around a long time. He’s very professional. I talked to him yesterday - we were doing fitness, and I was like, 'Man, I don’t ever get to play against you because you’re a center midfielder and I’m an outside back, but I never realized how fast you are.'"

Ubiparipovic, who played one game on loan for the Minnesota Thunder in 2007, might be just as well-placed as the vice-captain to see the changes in the club. Said Kallman, "The club is so much different than it was then. It’s so much more professional. The quality of players is so much higher than we’ve ever had. I don’t even know what our official roster size is, whether it’s 25 or 26 guys; you look around the locker room, and you’re like, any of these guys can play on a given day. Now we just need to figure out how we can get the most out of everyone on the team, and keep pushing each other. Whether you’re a consistent starter, or you haven’t played a minute all season, we just need to make sure we train at a high level. That’s one of the reasons the older veterans got together and were talking on Monday."

For Kallman, the biggest area of improvement for the team can come from playing hard for all 90 minutes - and not switching off in crucial moments, like the first five or last five minutes of a half, or the five minutes after a goal. "If you look at all the games in the first season, we didn’t play horribly," he said. "During games, we were awesome, but all of a sudden we’d hit a five- or a ten-minute period where maybe little bounces weren’t going our way, or we couldn’t keep possession, and then we’d end up giving up a goal. Or [we'd make] a silly mistake at a crucial time. There were times, like in Carolina at the end of the game, we’d give up a goal to tie it up, and instead of being like, hey, listen, it’s going to be a tie now, or we have to push for a win, in five minutes we’re giving up a goal and we’re losing in the last four minutes of a game."

United's first chance to right the ship comes on Saturday against Atlanta. Whether Kallman or one of the other senior players wears the captain's armband matters less; what matters more is that someone - maybe all six  - steps up to lead the team.


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
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LSU 64
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Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
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American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
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Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
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Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
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Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
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Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
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Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
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Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
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