John Pascarella, former goalkeeper coach for Sporting Kansas City, will take on the role with the Loons for the 2018 season, Minnesota United announced. He was head coach of the Des Moines Menace last season in the Premier Development League.

"Watching them this year, it was obvious that they have a solid core of players and as we add to this group, I believe we can be an exciting and competitive team in MLS," Pascarella said in a Loons statement.


Bozek to get cut

Former Gophers standout Megan Bozek and Alex Carpenter, another 2014 Olympic silver medalist, will be cut from the U.S. Olympic women's hockey team, according to a published report.

The Grand Forks Herald, citing sources, reported the U.S. team, coached by Minnesotan Robb Stauber, has reached its 23-player limit. An official announcement will be made Jan. 1 in Buffalo. The men's Olympic roster will be announced at the same time.

Stauber's cuts are surprising because Bozek is considered one of the team's top defenseman and Carpenter is a former Patty Kazmaier Award winner for Boston College.

There are still seven Minnesotans on the team and six current or former Gophers.

U.S. juniors cut one

The U.S. junior national team cut Harvard defenseman Reilly Walsh, getting its roster to 26 players.

The team must trim three more players for the World Junior championship in Buffalo, which begins Dec. 26.

There are 10 Minnesotans on the roster, including Gophers Casey Mittelstadt and Ryan Lindgren, and five UMD players.

70 Canterbury dates

Canterbury Park will conduct 70 days of horse racing in 2018 — three more than this year. The Minnesota Racing Commission approved the Shakopee racetrack's request to run from Friday, May 4 (Kentucky Derby weekend) through Saturday, Sept. 15.

"With record purses that could reach $15 million, we expect to continue our upward trend in attracting quality stables and creating great wagering opportunities," track President Randy Sampson said.

Huge soccer honor

St. Thomas midfielder Shae Bottum was named the 2017 Division III National Player of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches' Association.

The 2014 Hill-Murray High graduate helped the Tommies (22-2) place fifth in the NCAA tournament in their division.

He broke a 30-year-old Tommies record this fall with 15 assists in one season. He also had nine goals.

• St. Thomas senior nose guard Austin Jochum was named a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award, which recognizes the nation's top small college defensive player.