In just the latest proof that Jurgen Klinsmann is willing to look places many of his predecessors wouldn't in order to find talent, the United States manager will reportedly call NASL midfielder Miguel Ibarra into the team ahead of next month's matches against Ecuador and Honduras. Ibarra has spent the past three seasons with Minnesota United after no team picked him in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft despite a standout college career at UC Irvine.
Although Ibarra was eventually picked in the second round of the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Portland Timbers, he was never offered a contract.
The main knock against Ibarra seems to have been mostly his size. At 5-foot-6 and just 145 pounds, most seemed to think he'd have a hard time in a physical league like MLS. But NASL isn't exactly a soft league, and Ibarra's speed has proven enough to overcame any size limitations there. The 24-year-old is in the midst of his best professional season, scoring eight goals and registering five assists in about 1,800 minutes while helping United finish atop the NASL's Spring standings and leading them to the same spot about two-thirds through the Fall schedule.
Assuming Klinsmann follows through, this would be the first time a players has been called into USMNT camp from the North American lower divisions since 2005 when Clyde Simms got a call.