By Ren Clayton

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota United FC will open their season later this month, and they’re hoping for a big year from midfielder Hassani Dotson.

The expectations are high for Dotson, who has recently gained some new perspective.

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“We rushed to the hospital, and she came out [at] 9:58, ready to play in the game [laughs]!” Dotson said.

He rejoined the team Monday after his daughter, Gia, was born a week ago Saturday.

“After training I’m gonna hop on a Facetime of course life,” Dotson said. “I think I do well balancing soccer as well as my personal life.”

His new daughter and fiancée are living in Oregon right now, and he will get a chance for more family time when the team heads to Portland this Thursday for a preseason tournament. At the same time, he’s gearing up to seize what this year presents.

Hassani Dotson (credit: CBS)

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“You know my feelings of Hassani. I think there’s, you know, an international footballer there. Now he’s got an opportunity,” head coach Adrian Heath said.

Dotson played with the national team early last year, and took big steps forward with the United as well. Now, with some competition at his midfield position gone, he controls what comes next.

“I’m very excited for it. It’s a big responsibility and opportunity for me. But that’s all you want in a career, is a chance to increase your role, and you either sink or swim,” he said.

“He’s got great engine, he’s box to box,” Heath said. “We’ve seen he’s got a goal in him, you know, so it’s a big year for him.”

One that got off to a great start.

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“I can’t be happier at this moment,” Dotson said. “Soccer’s going good, life’s going good.”

Ren Clayton