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Report: Minnesota United’s Ibarra to receive USMNT call-up



With the 2014 World Cup in the rearview mirror, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is sure to use the coming months as an opportunity to integrate new faces into his side. However, one of those new faces is set to come from a pretty surprising location.

Minnesota United winger Miguel Ibarra will reportedly be among the names called up to the USMNT squad for the team’s October friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras. Ibarra would be the first NASL player to be invited to join the national team since 2005, when the Richmond Kickers’ Clyde Simms joined the national team for a camp ahead of World Cup qualifiers.

The 24-year-old speedster has been an integral part of Minnesota United’s run atop the NASL. Ibarra, who has been with the club since 2012, was named to the NASL’s Best XI last season and has contributed 11 goals and eight assists throughout his time with the club.

Ibarra was originally selected by the Portland Timbers in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, but the MLS club did not offer him a contract.

The U.S. is set to take on Ecuador Oct 10. in East Hartford, Connecticut before facing Honduras Oct. 14 in Boca Raton, Florida.

What do you think of Ibarra’s call up? What does it say about the state of NASL? Who else would you like to see on the team for the upcoming friendlies?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If he gets a cap, would he have to go through the allocation process since he is a national team player? Wouldn’t then NYCFC have first pick?

  2. In a perfect world, MLS by now would be thinking of having a 2nd and 3rd division and even a 4th division.
    MLS1 with 28 teams, MLS2 with 18-20, MLS3 with 28 which is the farm league and MLS4 a strictly under18 league that connects to MLS3.
    Then between MLS2 & MLS4, you can trade and move players around and MLS2 would actually buy or trade as well, since MLS2 would be a serious league as well.
    But before i get attack, i never mention promotion & relegation, but if you can come out with a good idea then explain.

    • Let’s be real, the issue with some of this is $. If MLS owns its minors it runs the business risks. So only the rich teams are following through on B teams. It is less risky to let NASL/USL try to survive on their own dimes. MLS2 and so forth would make MLS risk its own money on the success of each minor league soccer town.

      There are not enough cities that reliably support soccer at a high level to bother with pro/rel. We are better off at this stage consolidating the good choices and adding selected teams than introducing more instability by relegation risk. When 20K will show up to watch a bad team play because soccer matters so much no matter where you go, then it’s time to allow teams to go up and down.

  3. Congrats to Ibarra.

    On another note, whats up with these folks talking like MLS is garbage now or that NASL in any way competes with MLS?

    You been on that ganja? Seriously though, NASL is not in the neighborhood of MLS money, attendance, advertising deals, players….the list goes on and on and on and on

  4. MLS tried to offer him minimum salary and the bench at best. NASL offered him play time and more money. It was easy, but it doesn’t mean he is any less good.

    I am a San Antonio Scorpions follower. The roster is full of guys that could get play time or have gotten play time in MLS. They are the journeymen level of talent. They get slightly more in NASL in salary and get play time. It really isn’t a hard decision to make.

  5. This was probably the player that flashed through Jason Kreis’ head when he realized that he had made a mistake by not getting the first spot in the USL/NASL priority claim.

    • How many MLS finals wins or appearances does Heath have? Heath’s coaching resume tends to show a guy whose only success has been at the team he is now coaching, who are about to be thrown up a level. To a level where Jason Kreis has won a MLS Cup, finished second in another, and made one of the better recent CCL runs by MLS.

      So, yes, he flubbed a pick, but I expect him to eat Heath’s lunch.

      • I’m not saying he’s not a better coach than Heath. However Ibarra is a local kid to the NYCFC market having been born in New York.

        I’m sure Kreis would love this kid on team next season. Now if MLS can get a deal done, OC has first dibs, regardless of who their coach is.

  6. interesting, so we can assume it will certainly be a 30 man camp. this should make a great debate if guys like Nguyen get passed over. once again, i wish the roster would just come out already!

    • I think Nguyen is an excellent player. I am a fan. I have been following him since he was at Indiana as a freshman then Netherlands (I think PSV Eindhoven or Feyenord) then Vietnam. However, if JK is building for 2018 and later, his time might have passed him by, but it we are looking at the Copa America in 2016, he might belong on the roster. You have to pick a roster that help you meet your goals in 2018. If that means skipping over players who belong on it now, but not ’18 or using those players for 1 or 2 years then dropping then, so be it….

      • i understand that. but it’s still going to create a debate and i’m saying it will be interesting to see the conversation around it.

      • I wanna see charlie Davies many of yall think hes done but I feel that a call up would bring back the charlie of old. He’s been wonderful for NE.

      • With Gold Cups in 2015 & 2017, Copa America in 2016, a possible Confed Cup in 2017, Olympics in 2016 (hopefully) and then WC qualifying… depth will be key. Knowing if Lee is able to contribute would be a plus.

  7. If MLS had an MLS 2, the national team would be better. Due to the pressure of the young players in MLS 2 and the mentality of reachg MLS 1.
    It’s like the varsity team with a JV team in high school, which help each other and create power and history.
    For instance, the teams from NASL or uslpro that have a real future and good owners, should send a letter to garber about starting an MLS 2, because I know I would.
    Of course, MLS 2 would have different rules and not so fancy buildings but that’s a starting point. MLS needs to open their eyes and if they can work with uslpro which is MLS 3, why not have MLS 2 with 18 teams, 9 in each conference.
    It’s time now, it’s time to create more history for MLS.

    • Pro/rel promotes and relegates regardless of actual quality. The worst three go down, the top three go up. It doesn’t matter if a team is worthy of the EPL top 10 and runs the Championship table, or if a list of 6 teams fights to the last day while playing more of a Championship standard. In either case, 3 up, 3 down. Why do you think awful QPR springs right back up? The year before they were proof relegation works. Now they prove promotion is wise? Hogwash.

      Players should generally have pride and be trying to improve their careers. I think the bigger issue is MLS reserves falling into the cracks by not being used by the senior team. You want a serious issue, that’s it, not the idea that pro/rel somehow motivates the second tier players more than trying to make it to MLS at contract time anyway.

      Plus, with the amount of loans now being made, you can’t really call the levels distinct. MLS loans a guy down who tears up the minors, his minor league team wins but he is then recalled. OK, what does that prove about either team? Or is it just good that team B gave him a place to play and we benefit from it……..Dom Dwyer for instance. Bears noting that required no pro/rel, just a structure that gives marginal players opportunities to shine, even in fixed levels.

      • Not to harp on one point out of your entire comment, but you’re thinking on pro/rel is purely based on the English model. Why would it have to work that way? Here is a senario…the MLS2 cup champion and MLS2 supporters shield winner play a home and away series with the bottom two MLS1 teams in terms of points. That way the risk of an inferior team being promoted is minimized and there are extra televised games that could happen concurrent to the MLS1 playoffs.

        While I am sure the economics could be worked out between MLS1 and MLS2 so that all the owners in MLS are satisfied, we are just as likely to see an old school baseball system where there are two leagues and the supporters shield winners of both play for the MLS cup (the US Open Cup could be structured to act as a mode of interleague play).

        In the end, if the league gets to an unweildy size and they want to institute a new structure there are lots of options, but in the end it will be one that maximizes income while not alienating fans.

    • i agree that an MLS2 would be great.

      the way I see it MLS is built on expansion fees. So after MLS hits its goal of 24 (either 2 divisions of 12, or 3 divisions of 8) you start selling expansion spots in the second division. By then the amount of $100m expansion fee teams (NYCFC, Atlanta, etc) will be diminished but plenty of smaller/medium sized markets (like San Antonio, Austin, Tampa, OKC, etc) will still want in.

      Over the years expand MLS2, like MLS1 has, and slowly but surely we will have two leagues that implementing a pro/rel system might be worth discussing.

      Right now three different businesses operating the three different levels is good because they are consistently trying to fill the voids the others are missing but at some point down the line a more systematic approach will be better, and possible. Until then there is no hard & fast rule stating the MLS is the end all be all of US Soccer.

  8. If Ibarra is actually good enough, hopefully this callup helps him earn an MLS contract. In England anyway there is certainly precedent for second division guys getting callups to the national side.

    • England’s a slightly different case, post Bosman there has been a flood of European and otherwise cosmopolitan players. This has made it much harder for domestics to find playing time at top notch teams. Players are effectively pushed to weaker sides and lower rungs. It’s a cautionary tale for people who want MLS to pay more and sign more foreign players. Right now MLS is a solid, if not perfect, backbone supplying many domestic players.

      To get a good idea what EPL does to England, of the top 10 EA stats rank players at GK, just 3 are from the UK, two English (Forster and Hart), one Scottish. The US supplies one of their top 10 (Guzan). Meanwhile in MLS the top 10 has 7 Americans plus Frei, Ousted, and Ricketts.

      • Even before the Premiership, English players were always inferior in numbers to foreigners, except they used to be Scottish, Irish, and Welsh.

        Go back and look very carefully at the team rosters of the great teams of Liverpool, Man U. Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Spurs, Arsenal, etc.

        A better cautionary tale is how Scotland went from producing a seemingly endless supply of top class players of all descriptions to almost nothing almost overnight.

  9. Jurgen brought a kid that barely had any professional experience to the World Cup and the kid scored a goal. The kid played almost exclusively in the reserve side of his club. Hell, Jurgen just had a college kid into camp. Let that sink in. A college kid. Why is anyone surprised that he is calling up a NASL player??? He’s not afraid to do so and while I am scratching my head a bit I have applaud him for experimenting and trying out new players. This is the time to do so. This is what you do when you enter a new cycle for 2018. I have seen Ibarra a couple of times and I have to say he is one of the better players outside of MLS. I have no doubt he could walk into the lineup of several MLS club. Is he international caliber?? I have no idea but there’s only one way to find out and that’s by bringing him into camp.

    • It’s amazing how many people buy into the “level” argument.

      Talent is talent, and talent will always trump experience, if, as they say, you are willing to give talent experience.

      As a coach who has usually been a position where I had to do more with less, I can tell you – even on the club level, there’s always a bunch of guys who are overlooked for a variety of biased reasons, or guys who just needed a chance, some development, and somebody who believed in them. Bill Walsh, that 49ers hall of fame coach, once said that if a coach was a good enough judge of talent, he could go out into the stands and pick a better team than he had on the field. (Probably an exaggeration, but it’s an interesting point.) And people were amazed at the way he could just look out at players during a combine or tryout and say – THAT guy, who’s that? And he’d just picked out another future Hall of Famer.

      People like to pretend that players are like assets on EA Sports games, who have some numerical quantity on them that will be the same from team to team regardless of situation, locker room, or coaching…it’s complete BS. At least 50%, minimum, of what a player is and becomes is due to the situation and coaching he receives. A lot of coaches who have no ability whatsoever to reach or motivate a player like to create artificial situations where they weed out guys who could be perfectly good players to create “competition”, on the grounds that competition brings out the best in everybody…what you do when you rely wholly on the law of the jungle is, you end up creating a hostile atmosphere in the locker room where everybody slits everybody else’s throats, where the players neither like nor trust one another – or the coach – and a lot of guys who could have helped you, or been something if you’d just been patient with them, get just thrown away.

      The best coaches not only create competition – they create a positive atmosphere where the players are not only challenged to be their best, but where they aren’t afraid to fail. Go for it, do something, get after it – mental mistakes we can clean up, but show your stuff. If you mess up, do it at 100mph. Play within the system – but do it YOUR way, play YOUR game. You do that, and give guys chances regardless of “pedigree”, “reputation”, or other such artificial constructs, and what you wind up with is a bunch of very talented guys with something to prove realizing they have a golden opportunity in front of them – and going for it. And all of a sudden instead of a bunch of friks and fraks and discarded remnants and gutter sweepings, you’ve got a bunch of young stars everybody wants…and the only thing that changed was external perception, and the confidence of the players.

      Jurgen is doing what all good coaches do, choosing guys who intrigue him and giving them a chance. Some of them will work out, some won’t…and some of them will shock the crap out of everybody and leave everybody going “how did we MISS that guy?”

      Find enough of ’em, add ’em to the core guys we already have, and we’ve got a USMNT that can take yet another jump. Considering how many guys Jurgen found – a lot of them in the Consignment Section – for the last cycle, I’m genuinely curious to see what he turns up this time around.

      • Then again, Bill Walsh drafted Giovanni Carmazzi way ahead of Tom Brady to be the next 49’ers QB.

        Talent evaluation and how it will develop is always tricky even for the best of them.

      • The point is even the best, and Walsh was indisputably one of the best, can miss and miss badly, on a “once-in -a generation” talent.

        Who knows maybe Ibarra becomes the next Charlie Davies, who was pretty obscure himself when he came up. Sweden’s leagues even then were and are not now all that competitive.

        Or he could be the next Robbie Findley who was great for RSL not so great for the US.

  10. I haven’t seen this guy play, but JK is trending to very athletic guys for his youth. Maybe that is the case here ?

    So while you can say that top 100 got passed over
    and you can be pissed about Landon not being taken to Brazil ( I still am )
    and etc, etc, etc

    He may have rhyme and reason ?

    • Ibarra is not a youth player. Calling in random guys isn’t the same as calling in youth. Unless he’s a really, really, exceptional exception to the rule (think Drogba), this guy has hit his ceiling. Unfortunately.

      • As a Minnesotan who watches him play every week, I can certainly say that he has not hit a ceiling. In fact, he’s been controlling games the past three weeks, something that I haven’t seen from him up until now.

      • So I guess that Jay Demerit guy should have never been called into the USMNT. Sheesh at 24 he was playing for Southall F.C. a division 5 team in England.

      • this is a very unfortunate point of view that way too wide spread among MLS and other US Soccer levels.

        I am glad Luke brought up Jay DeMerit, and there are so many other examples of players that we not put on the ‘national team’ or ‘mls first team’ track at age 16 – 24 and were never given a chance. A lot of players develop later on, like Drogba, or it takes a different coach/organization to bring it out.

      • I think it’s a byproduct of the college system. College is an incredibly inefficient economy. You get commitments from guys at age 16 and then they’re locked into a team until age 22.

        Less-talented schools sometimes luck into a guy who would be better served (and better able to be evaluated) if he could move up to a more competitive environment.

        In a league system, the most talented players will filter to the top far more quickly.

      • Brigham Young University has tried an interesting experiment: their men’s club went semi-pro (PDL) about 10 years ago. They had been dominating the club level for years and wanted a step up, but NCAA rules were too restrictive on the players’ schedules, funding, etc., so they leapfrogged up a level.

        It hasn’t been pretty every year, but they are finally becoming a solid team in the league. It’s potentially a far better system than anything that NCAA can offer.

      • They would still lose to neighboring Utah Valley University, who play D-1, so I don’t see where that potentially is a better system than the NCAA can offer.

      • Huh? BYU beat UVU 5-2 in March of this year. Perhaps you meant Utah State University, which beat BYU 3-0 last week. (But lost to the Cougars 5-0 earlier this year.) Which is all neither here nor there because matches BYU plays against non-PDL teams are the equivalent of “friendlies.”

        And none of that relates to the point about PDL holding the potential to offer more to college-aged athletes than NCAA. First and foremost, PDL schedules allow play throughout the year, which is essential for soccer development. Second, the level of competition exceeds NCAA. PDL teams can compete in the Open Cup. International travel and matches are allowed. Players could be paid. Etc.

        It’s no wonder so many top college soccer players opt to play for PDL teams during the summer (e.g., DeAndre Yedlin, Jordan Morris).

      • ” A lot of players develop later on, like Drogba,”

        Drogba got a late start but that was by Euro standards not American ones. Of course he played in Europe not America.

        At first, Drogba had injury and homesickness issues. He went full time pro at 21 , was in Lige 1 a season or two later and by the time he was about Ibarra’s age (24-25) he was signed by Marseille.

        I have not seen a lot of NASL but I’m guessing Lige 1 has a higher competitive standard. I doubt most NASL players are USMNT standard but Ibarra may well be an exception.

        I thought, along with most of you, that JK was not serious about Beckerman’s long term USMNT future when JK picked him for JK’s first game in charge of the USMNT.

        We all know how that turned out.

    • Oh the hatred.

      I am not going to get sidetracked talking about Landon…check out our corner kicks for my arguement.

      He is 24 people. He will still be young in 4 years. He has NOT hit his ceiling…I hope for his sake…..and my point stands, JK is going athletic. I agree with that decision.
      He says we should be top 8 or top 4 next world cup. That aint happening with Mix Diskarud speed. ( I love Mix, but still it aint happening ).

      BTW, to disagree with JK’s choice of a NASL guy based on the Landon mistake is weird don’t you think ?

    • The reason is simple. He still has to call in an extremely limited Brek Shea because we have so little speed up top. Any winger witj speed, and any productivity, should get a look.

      • Shea remains a viable USMNT prospect because, at his best, he is big, strong, fast and direct, always willing to attack the defense.

        At his best he is something defenders absolutely hate.

        When he is at his best he has few American peers.

      • The problem with Shea he is not that good with the ball in his feet. He can’t driblle and everytime he tries people on, he end up losing the ball.

      • “He can’t driblle and everytime he tries people on, he end up losing the ball.”

        If that were really true he would not be a professional.

        Lots of very good attackers rarely if ever take people on one on one in the traditional sense of dribbling past people.

        Shea at his best is a powerful, blunt instrument not a finesse kind of guy.

  11. I see this as a very important step forward for professional soccer in USA. It sends the message to lower division players that not only is MLS scouting your league, but NATs as well. This sort of thing will strengthen the soccer pyramid in US.

    • agreed, relying on MLS or the NCAA draft (which is what MLS heavily relies on) is a way too simplistic view of US-Soccer. The amount of professionally playing citizens and expats is huge! MLS is a business that employs a lot of them but is far from the one-stop source for developing and employing the best American soccer players. Klinnsman knows that and he is sending a message with these surprise call ups. glad we have such a leader that is so ambitious and vigilant.

      also MLS’ foolish scheduling has a lot to do with this!

      • Maybe your guys could get a call up per your suggestion

        “Why not throw Wells Thompson or Andre Akpan in there? Hey are you available? would you like to make a 30 min appearce at the end?”

        Actually I see your squad is here – do you really think
        Klinsi would call these guys or are you revising your squad?
        Your post 9/22 835 pm
        “I hope to see a at the moment best 23 (+Mr. Donovan) american soccer players team with an eye on the 2015 Gold Cup

        Gk: guzan, rimando, hamid
        Lb: chandler, garza
        Lcb: besler, brooks
        Rcb: gonzalez, schuler or hedges (cam if healthy)
        Rb: johnson, yedlin
        Lhm: jones, beckerman
        Rcm: bradley, trapp
        Cam; dempsey, mix
        Lm; bedoya, nguyen
        Rm; donovan, green gyau or zusi
        Cf; jozy, zardes

  12. This guy fits the 4-3-3 mold we are play and this isn’t popular opinion but NASL is only second division by status. When it comes to on the field quality they’ve been right up there with MLS. Take away the DP’s and foreign talent from MLS and you have NASL.

    • I can see not going to Europe. It is a long ways away…and you probably end up on a loser team. The illusion of big money is an illusion most of the time for most US players.

      So you are telling me guys won’t move to MLS for more money ( not an illusion), a bigger league ? Yeah, not buying it. Not saying MLS got it right in every player, just that as a rule with exceptions the more talented has gone to MLS.

      Love non-MLS soccer btw, not hating.

      • I wholly buy that at every level of US soccer the scouting and development needs to improve. We should be constantly scouting our minors. Already having your own players down there on loan should only make it easier, since you should already be monitoring the loanees.

        But if the minors were as good as you suggest, where are they in CCL and USOC. There was a period of short rosters and $10K reserve salaries when the well selected and drilled minor league sides started to catch up. PR Islanders. Montreal. But then MLS went to 30 man rosters and $40K reserve minimum. The minor league teams disappeared from CCL.

        Facts: 6/8 quarterfinalists USOC = MLS, all semis, all finals. No CCL minor league teams. There have been periods when teams were competitive in CCL becuse MLS was losing the battle for marginal rosterees. There have been periods when certain well drilled teams have progressed far or won USOC. This is not one of those periods.

    • But DPs and foreign talent are part of MLS.

      That’s like saying “take away Russian Oligarch money and the EPL is the Championship.”

    • Disagree.

      Been to my share of Ft. Lauderdale Strikers games, including Open Cup. Strikers sold their #10 last year for some hotel rooms for an away game. This year, Strikers lost to the Laredo Heat and didn’t even get to face an MLS squad. Last year, the Strikers needed PKs to beat the Laredo Heat and then FC Dallas played a hybrid of starters & reserves to beat the Strikers.

      NASL is not close to MLS. Not even a discussion.

      • Been to a few Strikers games myself. Sorry to say, their quality doesn’t match their opponents most of the time.

        Blame Traffic Sports, but I wouldn’t necessarily put that on NASL.

  13. Can someone over at SBI shed some light on this decision? Is there some subtext about JK sending MLS a message? How do you feel if you’re an MLS players who hasn’t gotten a call-up? I’d understand this more if Ibarra was younger. A bit confused.

    • Setting aside the pro minor league arguments, which I don’t buy after they expanded the reserve rosters and increased pay (where are they in USOC or CCL, if they have really caught up…..there was a period when they actually got close)……

      It’s quite simple. This is the development phase of the cycle and he’s trying out whoever he wants from whereever he wants. College? Minor league? Random Europe? Who cares. The whole point is, he’s looking to freshen the pool and not bound by conventional, somewhat circular ideas of how to do so……most of the time when we name people we name the same people over and over, even when it’s like, try something different.

      As long as he doesn’t start trying a la Recent Kinnear in Houston to try and beat good teams with journeymen and a thin splash of quality, I’m fine with it. It’s a sprinkling of random picks in a normal pool, and likely intended to encourage the players to move to more serious sides. Like MLS or better.

      To then suggest this is annointing the minors is silly. It’s one guy he likes. He probably hopes the guy shows well in camp and gets a chance to be “promoted” from this appearance.

      • LOL…is there MLS level money in college also? A guy from Stanford got called in last time.

        Nice to see, and feel good for the guy, but I think you are taking it just a bit far.

      • There’s MLS money in the Seattle Sounders academy which is where “a guy from Stanford” received pretty much all of his coaching, development, and visibility.

    • This.

      Klinsi is meant to be bringing in a 30-man camp, not just a roster of players who will get game time. So I doubt he sees time. He’s obviously awarding Ibarra for a job well done, while also throwing the birdie to MLS.

      Don Garber is probably trying to strong arm him about bringing in too many MLS players. So Klinsi is saying, “Fine, don’t let me bring in MLS players. I’ll bring in D2 guys and let them show their wares.”

      I’m actually 100% behind Klinsi bringing in whoever he wants from MLS, regardless of the club playing. Make the coaches and owners feel enough pain that they knock sense into Garber so he respects international dates.

      • agree… but in all professional US sports, soccer is the only sport year in and year out, and through out the year that club players have to leave club training for national duties.

        I disagree with Garber on too many issues, but it’s gotta be a headache for any MLS commissioner whos job is to the move the league forward in terms of successful entertainment and profits.

        MLS teams have to grow strong benches and strong 2nd, 3rd division teams to balance USMNT duties for 1st team players.

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