ST. PAUL, Minn – With less than a month to go before the MLS Expansion Draft and amid swirling reports of an impending head coaching appointment Minnesota United on Wednesday announced the hiring of former Portland Timbers and D.C. United assistant coach Amos Magee as Director of Player Personnel.
A native of St. Paul, Magee will work alongside Sporting Director Manny Lagos to help build the organization's first MLS roster and implement the vision of the club across the first team, academy and eventually the reserves. He will look to put to use his knowledge of both MLS and the Minnesota soccer scene as the club gets set to construct a roster for their 2017 expansion season debut.
A former MLS player with the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Chicago Fire in MLS, Magee experienced an expansion launch as an assistant coach with the Portland Timbers and then was part of what he calls a “virtual reboot” of the D.C. United squad after a disastrous 2013 campaign. Before spending time as an assistant with Portland and D.C. in MLS, Magee played for, and eventually coached the Minnesota Thunder in the old USL First Division.
Magee specifically credits his time with his previous MLS clubs for giving him the experience of “finding players of value.”
“I would say that both clubs have had success without getting aged, big money designated players,” he said. Both teams, he also points out, have drafted well with Portland pulling in Darlington Nagbe and D.C. United drafting Steve Birnbaum in 2014.
While he’s learned from those clubs, Magee says every team is different.
“Minnesota’s going to pick its own philosophy with pieces of Portland, of Seattle, of DC’s reboot, and stuff that’s been successful here in the NASL,” he said.
Magee and Lagos both spoke heavily of “mechanisms,” “value,” and “assets” and it is clear that they are thinking not only about players that might be available in upcoming drafts, but also how they might leverage their positions in those drafts for other players around the league. Minnesota United have the first pick in January’s SuperDraft and their strategy will add some intrigue around the draft, specifically whether the team will trade away their No. 1 pick for an established player.
In anticipation of the various offseason drafts, the club's extensive scouting efforts will continue. Earlier in the fall, Lagos went on a scouting trip to Scandinavia. This coming weekend, Magee will immediately be off to Costa Rica on a scouting mission and the two will have logged thousands of travel miles by the time 2017 begins.
The next domino to fall is expected to be the naming of the club's new head coach, but it is yet unclear when that might happen. The latest reports indicate that former Orlando City SC head coach Adrian Heath may get the nod as soon as Friday, but the clock is ticking as preseason approaches on January 23.