Major League Soccer officials announced on Friday that NASL side Minnesota United would be joining their league next season, confirming a timeline that was either to be 2017 or 2018. Minnesota has been one of the most passionate soccer cities in America for decades, from the Minnesota Kicks to the Minnesota Thunder.
Through a variety of ownerships, team names and leagues, the potential has always been strong for the local market to get behind their club in a massive way.
Former head coach and current sporting director Manny Lagos has much work to do in preparing for the team’s expansion season in MLS. From the Expansion Draft to the Superdraft, there will be no shortage of mechanisms at his disposal to bring in talent. But looking at the squad’s current roster, several players may be able to help them have a successful maiden campaign in the American first division.
While United goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock is still shaking off his howler in a July friendly against English Premier League club AFC Bournemouth, we look at five players who could find themselves in a Loons MLS uniform next year.
Players Minnesota United Should Keep In Their Roster For MLS Next Year
FW – Christian Ramirez
The crown jewel of the franchise and the current NASL leader in goals (13), 25-year old forward Christian Ramirez will be anxious to begin his MLS career in 2017.
Joining the team in 2014 and playing alongside Club Leon midfielder Miguel Ibarra, Ramirez will be more than ready for his new challenge. His size, strength and goal-scoring touch should serve him well in MLS with Minnesota United and maybe even get him a run with the United States national team.
DF – Justin Davis
A former MLS Superdraft pick for Real Salt Lake in 2010, defender Justin Davis joined the franchise when it was known as the NSC Minnesota Stars in 2011 and has been a fixture ever since.
With over 150 appearances for the club, Davis has shown an excellent ability to adapt and remain flexible. His skills as both a fullback and a central defender will be useful for United’s first MLS season.
MF – Jeb Brovsky
27-year old midfielder/defender Jeb Brovsky will be an invaluable resource for Minnesota during their first season in MLS next year.
Incredibly having already been part of three separate expansion seasons in the league (Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers & New York City FC), his 100+ games in MLS will be an important intangible for 2017 and beyond.
His signing before the current season was certainly made with next year’s jump in mind.
FW – Ben Speas
A star and College Cup champion at the University of North Carolina, forward Ben Speas signed a Homegrown player contract with the Columbus Crew in 2012. After over 40 appearances with the Crew, his contract was not renewed after the 2015 season and he landed with Minnesota a few months later.
A major contributor and team leader this year, expect to see Speas back in MLS in 2017.
DF – Kevin Venegas
27-year old California native Kevin Venegas has been a part of the Minnesota NASL side since 2012, and his flexibility and poise on the field have been impressive.
Possessing the ability to play in a fullback or midfield position, he has not seen any disciplinary actions (yellow or red cards) from referees in 2016. On top of his composure, he has found six assists and a goal as well.
His inclusion with Minnesota’s MLS side would be a smart addition moving forward.