Transfer Tracker

Minnesota United sign midfielder Emmanuel Iwe from MLS NEXT Pro

Iwe - MIN - 7.1.23


Minnesota United FC have tapped into the MLS NEXT Pro-to-first team pipeline for the first time, announcing Friday the signing of MNUFC2 midfielder Emmanuel Iwe.

The 22-year-old's historic deal runs through the 2023 MLS season, with club options for 2024-26.

A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Iwe has enjoyed a meteoric rise through Minnesota's ranks after impressing during an open tryout in January 2022.

“The first time that we saw [Emmanuel] Iwe, the first thing that stood out was his pace – he’s incredibly athletic, he’s really quick," Loons head coach Adrian Heath said in a release.

"... I think we always recognized that there was a lot of potential there and I think he started to realize some of that potential. We feel as though now he’s put himself in a spot where he’s deserved this opportunity to have an MLS contract, come onto the roster, and now let’s go from here. This is just the beginning."

Iwe has four goals in 11 starts for MNUFC2 this season, while making his MLS debut as a substitute against the Vancouver Whitecaps in Matchday 4 after signing a short-term agreement with the first team. Two additional short-term agreements followed, allowing the midfielder to make another appearance off the bench against CF Montréal earlier this month while also starting the Loons' 3-1 win over USL Championship side Detroit City FC in the US Open Cup Round of 32 in April.

"It’s a credit to [Emmanuel] for putting himself out there in the first place. Coming to an open tryout is never easy and then taking the opportunities that have come his way," MNUFC2 manager Cameron Knowles said.

"... It’s great for him that he’s been able to take this next step, and it’s the beginning of the next phase of his career, which is really exciting."