About three years after Minnesota United's Joe Greenspan played for Dave Brandt at Navy, the player and coach will join forces again in the professional game, albeit for a short time.
The Loons loaned Greenspan to the United Soccer League's Pittsburgh Riverhounds, where Brandt is in his first full year as coach. The Major League Soccer side expects the 24-year-old defender to be back in May.
Greenspan joined United (1-4-1) in an offseason trade with the Colorado Rapids. The 6-6, 209-pounder has yet to play for United and was out of contention for several weeks with a concussion.
The Riverhounds (1-1-1) will likely remedy that lack of playing time. Greenspan arrived in Pennsylvania on Sunday night and trained with the Hounds on Monday morning ahead of the team's Wednesday match against Saint Louis FC.
Brandt knows United's director of player personnel Amos Magee and even worked out some summer trainings for Greenspan at D.C. United when Magee was a coach there. Magee had called Brandt about Greenspan ahead of United trading for the defender back in December. Brandt returned the favor ahead of this loan.
"I know he's definitely got a couple of guys in front of him at Minnesota, so I called Amos and said, 'Is there any way we can get Joe for any period of time?'" Brandt said. "Our center-back situation, we've got some injuries and this sort of thing. It's just sort of tenuous. So he's here on a one-month loan deal, which I think is about the right time for us, and obviously, a chance for him to get minutes."
In four years together at Navy, from 2011-14, the two earned the school's first NCAA tournament win in 42 years in 2013. Greenspan had 18 goals in 78 appearances and was an All-American his junior and senior seasons.
Brandt said Greenspan's physical size and presence, combined with his ability to still move well on the pitch, is a great combination at his position. Brandt added the pair's history will make for a quick transition in such a short loan stint.
Greenspan hasn't really had a chance to show his worth at the MLS level, with his Naval duties often interrupting his time with the Rapids.
"Joe is young, but it's his third year in the league," Brandt said. "His first two years were a little disjointed in that they weren't full years, but it's still his first season of competing, seeing how things go, seeing realities, knowing that it's hard. So I think Joe's hoping for really good things in Minnesota.
"He's hoping for a chance, but I think all that's happened is not an issue," Brandt said of early season struggles for United and Greenspan. "He's enjoying the team and coaching staff."