Minnesota United began constructing its MLS roster by signing two club stalwarts on Thursday.
Defenders Kevin Venegas and Justin Davis were unveiled as Minnesota’s first MLS signings. Both players have spent their entire professional careers with the Loons.
“I’ve been wanting to bring my style of play to Major League Soccer for as long as I can remember,” said Venegas. “I’m very appreciative that Minnesota has invested in me and supplied me with a home from NASL to now MLS. It has been a priority in my mindset going into the gym, practice, game or any competition since day 1. I’m not nervous, I’m excited to make the jump! I know it will be a challenge but that’s what I live for! I have some decent experience now, but I feel a new energy, at age 27, I’m a rookie and a [veteran].”
Venegas has a franchise-leading 17 assists and was named to the 2015 NASL Team of the Year. He can also play as a midfielder, although he has primarily been a right-back for Minnesota.
“Kevin is extremely gifted athletically, he has great footwork,” said Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath. “He’s got the experience and now he has the chance to play at the next level. He has the ability to play and we are confident he can make the step up.”
Davis, 28, has been with Minnesota since 2011 and leads the team in all-time appearances with 169. He has recorded nine goals and provided 12 assists in his career with the Loons.
“It’s an exciting time for soccer here in Minnesota and I’m honored to be able to continue my career with this club,” said Davis. “Minnesota has been my only professional club and I look forward to helping the club succeed at the next level. Kevin [Venegas] and I have worked extremely hard to get to these points in our careers and I know we are excited for the new challenges in a new league.”
Minnesota will get a chance to add to its roster with the expansion draft on Dec. 13.