Jurgen Klinsmann turned some heads last month by calling in Stanford's Jordan Morris into the United States national team, and he is reportedly about to do so again with a player from another surprising location.
In a development first reported by ESPNFC.com, it appears Miguel Ibarra of NASL's Minnesota United will be on the upcoming US roster for the October friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras.
Ibarra, a 5-foot-7, 24-year-old winger from Lancaster, Calif., would become the first lower-division player to earn a call-up to the USMNT since Clyde Simms, then of the Richmond Kickers, did so back in 2005.
When contacted by MLSsoccer.com, a U.S. Soccer spokesman declined to provide specifics about the makeup of the upcoming USMNT roster, but confirmed that in keeping with usual procedure, a preliminary release list was distributed to clubs last week to notify them of potential callups. The roster is expected to be officially released on Sunday.
Federation sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that Ibarra was on that preliminary list, and that Klinsmann has been actively scouting NASL matches in addition to his usual evaluations of USMNT-eligible players in MLS and leagues abroad.
Ibarra tweeted shortly after the story came out that he had only been included in the preliminary roster.
It’s an honor to be mentioned regarding the US team, I haven’t seen a final roster, but it is gratifying to be considered for the team— Miguel Ibarra (@Migue10Ibarra) September 29, 2014
The US are set to play Ecuador in East Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 10 and Honduras four days later in Boca Raton, Fla.
"Although we have not seen a finalized list of players being called up and we don’t know if he will ultimately end up on such a list, we are not surprised that a young and talented player like Miguel Ibarra has drawn the attention of the U.S. Men’s coaching staff," said Minnesota United in a statement. "We are extremely proud of how Miguel has developed as a player and a person over the last several years here in Minnesota."
Ibarra was named the NASL Player of the Week for the second consecutive week on Monday.
The Orlando Sentinel, meanwhile, reported on Monday that 2015 MLS expansion franchise Orlando City are interested in bringing in Ibarra for their debut season next year. Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, the report indicates that Orlando are considering using their top spot in the USL PRO/NASL player priority ranking to grab Ibarra after winning the spot over New York City FC in last week's expansion draw.
A product of University of California-Irvine, Ibarra was selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft in 2012 by the Portland Timbers but was not signed to a contract. The New York Red Bulls sought to bring him into preseason camp earlier this year, but the team reportedly couldn't reach an agreement with Minnesota to make it happen.
Ibarra will be in action this weekend, when United take on the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday.