MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota United became international news this week when they agreed to transfer star player Miguel Ibarra to a Mexican team.

And Saturday, in their last game of the spring season, Ibarra will play his last game for the Loons.

“I try to look at it glass half full,” coach Manny Lagos said. “It’s exciting for him.”

When Ibarra came to Minnesota three years ago, he was largely an unknown. A NASL Golden Ball (league MVP) and five US National Team call ups later, Ibarra had become a hot commodity. So much so that with two years left on his contract, Club Leon in the Mexican League agreed to pay Minnesota United reportedly more than a million dollar transfer fee to have him.

“We weren’t necessarily looking to sell Miguel,” Lagos said. “But as things come and they go, we just felt like the timing was right.”

Simply put, Ibarra’s star is rising. He’d outgrown the North American Soccer League.

“And we as a club, at some point have to understand, is this the right place for Miguel, or is it better for him to develop and move on somewhere else?” Lagos said. “And I think the decision-making that the club has decided will put us in a good position in the future. For players that know, when they come here, they’ll be taken care of.”

That’s part of how you run a successful soccer club. You compete for wins but also for players. And the way United look at it, is here they’ve shown they’re the kind of place a player can come and blossom.

“Yeah without a doubt,” Lagos said. “Part of our job is to try to create a great environment for players to come and be successful and do well. And that’s easier said than done.”

But what’s also easier said than done is goodbye. To their most talented and most popular player.

“It’ll be a big night,” Lagos said. “I’d encourage anybody that wants to come out and watch get out and see Miguel Ibarra. Because unfortunately can’t see him too many more games.”

As part of the transfer agreement, Ibarra’s new team will come to Minnesota to play a friendly on July 18.

Ibarra will play one half for each team.

David McCoy

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