Mid-December MNUFC News & Roster Update

Quite a lot has happened in the relatively short amount of time with Minnesota United since the season ended for the Loons in November. The team has announced roster and staff updates. Columbus Crew won the MLS Cup, and the league announced they would not participate in the US Open Cup in 2024.

Roster Updates:

On December 1st, Minnesota United announced their end of season roster moves, providing a slightly clearer picture on the team heading into the 2024 MLS season. The Loons exercised club options for Kervin Arriaga, Michael Boxall, Tani Oluwaseyi, Joseph Rosales and Zarek Valentin. The day of the announcement the club also re-signed DJ Taylor to a new contract for two years with a club option, keeping the defender with the Loons through at least 2025.

Minnesota United had declined contract options for Bakaye Dibassy, Eric Dick, Fred Emmings, Ménder García, Jan Gregus, Emmanuel Iwe, Ryen Jiba, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. Cameron Dunbar, Brent Kallman and Wil Trapp are all out of contract. The team also stated they are in negotiations with Cameron Dunbar, Fred Emmings, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Wil Trapp.

A full and updated roster can be found at the bottom of this story.

Staff News:

On December 5th, Minnesota United announced that Sean McAuley will remain as Interim Head Coach heading into the 2024 season. The club also stated the remaining staff continue roles in 2024 alongside McAuley.
“I am personally grateful for Sean’s leadership and his willingness to continue in this role,” said MNUFC CEO Shari Ballard. “I have full confidence that he and our current staff are best positioned to successfully lead the team at this time given their collective coaching experience and familiarity with our players and club.”
Incoming Sporting Director Khaled El-Ahmad left English League One side Barnsley on the 15th of December and is expected to arrive in Minnesota in January. El-Ahmad “will determine timing and lead the process of the head coach search” following his arrival in Minnesota.

Preseason Updates:

On Friday the 15th, Minnesota United revealed their schedule for the preseason Coachella Valley Invitational tournament at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. The tournament is scheduled for the 4th-17th of February and currently has 12 clubs participating, with one coming from the USL Championship. The Loons will open their stay in California on the 10th of February against USLC side Phoenix Rising at 2pm central. Minnesota’s second match puts them against Chicago Fire on February 14th at 4pm CT. MNUFC will close out the tournament on Saturday the 17th against Charlotte FC at Noon.

US Open Cup:

On the same day as Minnesota announced their preseason tournament schedule the league dropped even bigger news, pulling the first division teams from the 2024 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Instead the league has stated that it intends to send the third division MLS Next Pro teams in their place. This would result in MNUFC2, which currently has three contracted players, participating rather than the first team. Additionally any MLS sides without an MLS Next Pro team will not participate in the USOC.
As part of requirements for Division I sanctioning, per the USSF Pro League standards “U.S.-based teams must participate in all representative U.S. Soccer and CONCACAF competitions for which they are eligible.” As of publishing of this story the United States Soccer Federation has not released a statement following Major League Soccer’s announcement.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Clint Irwin, Dayne St. Clair
DEFENDERS (7): Michael Boxall, Ethan Bristow, Mikael Marques, Devin Padelford, Miguel Tapias, DJ Taylor, Zarek Valentin
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kervin Arriaga, Caden Clark, Hassani Dotson, Franco Fragapane, Sang Bin Jeong, Robin Lod, Emanuel Reynoso, Joseph Rosales
FORWARDS (4): Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Tani Oluwaseyi, Teemu Pukki, Patrick Weah