Minnesota United is attaching some pretty high expectations to its latest signing.
"He's one that will get people off their seats," assistant coach Ian Fuller said.
Well, if the man is anything as cool as his name, he might just deliver.
The Loons announced Tuesday they had signed Frantz Pangop, a Cameroon national team midfielder. The 24-year-old is 5-10, 165 pounds and last played for Union Douala, a top division club in his native Cameroon.
Fuller said the team had heard Pangop's name and was intrigued (who wouldn't be?), so Fuller traveled to Cameroon to scout him at the end of October.
"He's really quite tactically ahead of some of the other players I saw," Fuller said. "He plays out wide. He's a right-footed player but plays wide on the left-hand side. Comes in great little holes and plays with people. And the good thing is, he's always looking to run forward, run in behind the defense either to score a goal or make a goal."
The more Fuller talked to Pangop on that trip, the more excited the player became. Not only for the challenge of playing outside his country in Major League Soccer, but also for the experience of playing in front of the Loons' fans. Fuller called Pangop the "perfect age" and said the player, whose first language is French, seemed ready to play for United for "years to come."
While competing in World Cup qualifying, Pangop scored an 88th-minute goal as a second-half substitute in his country's 2-0 victory against Algeria on Oct. 7. He has two caps (appearances) overall with the national team.
Pangop is United's third addition this offseason and the first not from fellow expansion side Atlanta United. The Loons acquired midfielder Harrison Heath, coach Adrian Heath's son, in a trade with Atlanta before picking up defender Tyrone Mears in the re-entry draft.
There are currently 24 players on United's 30-man roster, though midfielder Johan Venegas won't count on the active roster as he is on loan. Vadim Demidov, the former captain and United's highest-paid player who stopped practicing with the team halfway through last season, is also still listed as the team continues to look for a way to move him.
Fuller, assessing where the team is at this offseason, said, "We certainly won't be done in the transfer market for sure. And I think that being patient is the right thing to do after, I think that we all probably can agree, that it didn't go perfectly well last year at this time. ... All of us have been working really, really hard to travel and see players and make sure we're picking the right players this time."
United begins its training camp Jan. 22. Sporting Director Manny Lagos said Monday while he has certain dates in mind where he'd like to have most of his offseason moves complete, the global soccer market doesn't always fit so nicely into the MLS schedule.
"We've moved some players to different environments, which we think well help them get better," Lagos said, "and hopefully help us get better coming into this year.
"We still think we've got some key moves to make to help the roster grow and improve from last year."