For MNUFC's Thiesson and Boxall, an intercontinental journey to parenthood

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The advent of parenthood is a time of upheaval in the most stable of situations. For Minnesota United FC teammates Jerome Thiesson and Michael Boxall, Megan Ryan of The Star Tribune reports that meant navigating an intercontinental journey during the pregnancy and early infancy, with an assist from MNUFC support staff.

“That was like the biggest problem to come here. It was probably the only one,” Jerome Thiesson said. “I was ready for something new. My wife was always fond of the USA and was very interested to make the move here, but there was the baby situation.

“And of course, America is a great place to … give birth, [like] how we know now. But back then, we didn’t know. We knew just Switzerland.”

Boxall and girlfriend Libby Matthews brought 8-month-old daughter Maxwell from New Zealand, while Thiesson left Switzerland for the Twin Cities in March; wife Ivana Thiesson -- then 6 1/2 months pregnant -- followed a month later. Fellow Loons Francisco Calvo and Johan Venegas each became fathers last year, and the club aided them in finding medical staff who could converse with their wives in Spanish.

“To be pregnant and that far along in your pregnancy and have to switch doctors and switch countries,” said Angie Blaker, director of team operations, “I’m sure there’s a lot of concerns with that. For me, all I can try to do is try to help that ease. … Making sure they’re comfortable and happy, and if they’re not finding what it is they need, all I am is in support of, ‘OK, well, if that’s not working, let’s try to help.’

“If the families aren’t happy, there’s going to be stress at home, and then the players aren’t playing well."