Monday, October 6, 2014

Miguel Ibarra - What You Need to Know

Today Miguel Ibarra, a midfielder with Minnesota United of the North American Soccer League (NASL), became the first lower division player to be added to the U.S. National Team camp since 2005. For a lot of folks, this comes as quite a surprise given the plethora of talent we have scattered across North America and Europe. But Jurgen Klinsmann, who brought Stanford striker Jordan Morris to the Czech Republic for the U.S.'s most recent friendly, doesn't appear to be limiting his search for the best combination of players. So, what do you need to know about Miguel Ibarra? Here are the highlights:

*Ibarra played collegiately for Taft Community College in 2008 and 2009 before transferring to UC-Irvine for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Ibarra won the Co-Offensive Player of the year for the Big West Conference in 2011 in addition to being named first team All Conference.

*Ibarra was actually drafted into MLS as the 27th overall pick in the 2012 SuperDraft by the Portland Timbers. Portland opted to pass on him though and he signed with Minnesota in March of 2012. Of the players drafted after him, only Philadelphia backup striker Antoine Hoppenot could be considered to have had any significant success in MLS (7 goals in 67 matches).

*As a rookie in 2012, Ibarra helped lead Minnesota to the Soccer Bowl where they fell in a shootout to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He followed that up in 2013 with a Best XI performance, and now in 2014, has broken out with career highs in goals (8) and assists (5) in 21 matches. Minnesota clinched the 2014 NASL Spring Season title, and hold a 4 point lead atop the table in the Fall Season. Minnesota is in the midst of a 4-game winning streak during which Ibarra has scored 4 goals.

*Ibarra has already received some buzz in the MLS with speculation that expansion clubs Orlando City and New York City FC will try to acquire him before the start of next season.

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