A familiar face was back at Minnesota United training Wednesday at the National Sports Center.
Ish Jome, the 23-year-old Brooklyn Park native, returned to practice with his former club as a way to keep fit while he searches for his next team. Jome played for United in the North American Soccer League in 2016 before jumping to MLS where he played 12 games with seven starts. The utility player slotted in at forward, midfielder and defender at times, but the club did not pick up the option on his contract this offseason.
"It was good just to see all the guys again, keep fit, see the staff," Jome said. "Everyone's been great with me. So it's nice to be back."
Jome said he's playing it by ear how long he'll be training with United since he's just back home in between trials while looking for a new team. He spent about two weeks each with the New York Red Bulls and with Danish second-tier team Fremad Amager in Copenhagen, where one of Jome's college teammates from UC Santa Barbara was on loan to the Danish team, too. But Jome said it didn't work out because positionally the team didn't need a left wingback.
For his first time playing outside the U.S., though, Jome said it was cool to see different tactics, coaching styles and systems. He also said he will take a lot of what he learned with the Red Bulls and carry it into the rest of his career.
'It's a really great organization over there," Jome said. "The staff was very detailed, and they know how they want to play, and they know what they want out of you. So I actually learned a lot in my two weeks there."
As for his next move, Jome said he is hoping to find a team where he can play consistently and continue developing, whether that be in the U.S. or overseas this summer. That was something he struggled to do at United, which still doesn't have a reserve team or United Soccer League affiliate.
Along with Jome, there was a big Cameroonian center forward also practicing with the team, but coach Adrian Heath said he didn't know much about him.
"We've done one or two people a favor.This time of year, especially with the weather, it's been difficult for people to get outside," Heath said of inviting players to train with his club. "Nobody that we're looking at to bring in."
Updates from practice
Forward Christian Ramirez and outside backs Tyrone Mears and Jerome Thiesson were not practicing. Ramirez biked on the side and was wearing a boot on his left ankle. Heath said the striker had an injection "the other day" and will rest his ankle for two or three days before having all of next week to regain match fitness.
Thiesson has been recovering from a left hip injury and took a few touches after practice with a trainer. Heath said he is just resting Thiesson to make sure he is ready for Portland on April 14 and will wait to bring him back into the group practices until next week. Mears is the same, he just felt a little tightness in his right calf and will rejoin the group next week.
Heath also said midfielder Rasmus Schuller had a "little, minor, tiny" operation on one of his legs that will keep him out for two or three days. Schuller had a few hip and thigh injuries last season but has played every game he's been available for this season.
As far as when holding midfielder Maximiano will play, Heath said it's been a week-to-week acclimation process for the Brazilian coming off an ACL injury last summer. He said the team will decide at the end of this week if it can fully integrate Maximiano into training with the idea that he'll play at Portland. But if not then, it could be the Seattle game April 22 or the Houston game April 28.
Heath said new designated player Darwin Quintero will do more tactical work next week so he's ready to play at Portland. Right now, the players are still trying to feel out where is best to give him the ball and how to run off him.
Upcoming opponent Portland plays Sunday at Orlando City. Heath said he was toying with the idea of going down to his former home to scout the game, since it's a bit of a rare opportunity to see the next opponent play live. And the weather is a lot nicer than in Minnesota lmao.
That's it for training this week. The team will train Tuesday and Wednesday of next week but then take off for Portland. I will be out of commission all next week with an undisclosed upper body injury, so follow Jack White for updates.