Minnesota United FC star Ibarra to join Mexican league team
Miguel Ibarra just couldn't wait any longer to play for a top-flight soccer team.
Less than three months after it was announced that Minnesota United FC would join Major League Soccer, the face of the franchise has made a move to Club Leon in the Mexican league. Ibarra, who played four seasons with Minnesota in the second-level North American Soccer League and won the Golden Ball award last year as the NASL's best player, retweeted multiple media reports announcing his transfer to the Liga MX side.
Late Wednesday night, Club Leon's Twitter account officially welcomed its new acquisition.
Last October, Ibarra became the first player from a lower-tier American team to earn a call-up to the United States in more than a decade. The 25-year-old midfielder appeared in three games for the senior national squad and was on the roster -- though not used -- for the U.S.'s 2-1 upset of Germany on Wednesday.
MLS teams had inquired about Ibarra's availability and price in the past, but the speedy winger remained with Minnesota, where he scored 19 goals in 98 appearances, including three in nine this year. He's set to join Club Leon, which won Mexican league titles in 2013 and 2014, in time for the start of its upcoming Apertura season, starting in July.
On March 25, MLS announced that United FC would become its 23rd franchise, beginning play in 2018 in a to-be-built Minneapolis facility. United FC's ownership group, led by Bill McGuire and other Twin Cities sports owners, beat out a competing bid from Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, but the process of securing a soccer-specific stadium is ongoing and has been complicated.
Minnesota United FC, which is currently in fourth place in the NASL standings, will have to find a new star to lead it into MLS.
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