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Global Jun 12, 2015

Minnesota United agree to transfer midfielder Miguel Ibarra to Club León

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Via Minnesota United) – Minnesota United announced on Thursday it has reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of midfielder Miguel Ibarra to Liga MX franchise Club León. Per club policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

Ibarra has been with Minnesota since 2012. During his tenure with United he earned the 2014 NASL Golden Ball, was a two time NASL Best XI member, and became the first second division player to be called up to the senior U.S. Men’s National Team since 2005.

“First of all I want to thank the organization for everything they’ve done for me, they have opened the doors for me to start my career in the beautiful state of Minnesota,” said Ibarra. “They have worked so hard and that’s why the team is where they are now, bigger and stronger than ever. I want to thank Bill and Nick for believing in me and for having faith in the team. I want to thank Manny and Carl for always pushing me. They helped me grow as a player and without their guidance none of this would have been possible.

“I want to thank my teammates, my brothers – they’ve always pushed me and always helped me get out of my slumps. They pushed me every day at practice and again I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank all of our amazing fans and especially the Dark Clouds. I will never forget the most amazing fans I’ve ever seen who are so dedicated to the game. I will miss everything about Minnesota, the fans, the organization, the team, the state, the city – not the cold though! Thank you again, Minnesota will always be in my heart. Once a Loon, always a Loon.”

Ibarra, the Lancaster, CA native, was a big contributor in the midfield and a fan favorite for Minnesota. Over the course of his time with the club he scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists in 93 appearances across all competitions.

“Miguel has been a wonderful part of our club for the past several years,” said United President, Nick Rogers. “He is everything you like to see in a player: he’s talented, hard-working, and humble. He leads with his actions. He’s also a great person who cares deeply for his friends, his family, his teammates, and his club. For all of these reasons, it’s a bittersweet day for us. You hate to say goodbye to a player like this, but the reality is that this deal is a win for the club, for Miguel and for León.”

In 2014 Ibarra teamed up with forward Christian Ramirez and midfielder Daniel Mendes – the trio netted 38 goals, nine of them belonging to Ibarra. He assisted five of United’s goals that season, three of which were to Ramirez. For his efforts, Ibarra was named Player of the Month in September, before earning the NASL Golden Ball, and becoming the first player to make back-to-back appearances on the NASL Best XI.

“I am 100% excited for Miguel and the opportunities that he has had over the last several years with our club and the U.S. National Team,” said United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “He is going to be playing in a great league in Mexico.  Miguel has been a huge part of the core of this team’s successes for many years and we feel that we have grown as a club at the same time he has grown as a player.

“It’s important for people to realize we are not a club that’s built with the expectation of developing and selling players – we want to build a great environment and cultivate great players here,” said Lagos. “At the same time we have to allow players opportunities to grow that are in the best interest of the player and the club. We want to be a great club and we want our fans to know that this deal opens up opportunities for the club to get more players. I believe our fans know that these relationships we are establishing will pay huge dividends in the future.”

Ibarra’s destination, Club León, is one of the premier football clubs in the western hemisphere. Playing at the highest level in Mexico – León are seven time Liga MX champions, most recently winning the Clausura in 2014.

As part of the agreement Minnesota United and Club León will play an international friendly match on July 18th at National Sports Center Stadium where Ibarra will play one half for each team. Further details on this match will be coming soon.

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