SCSU men’s footballer signs professional contract with MNUFC2

ST. CLOUD – St. Cloud State men’s soccer saw a player sign a professional contract for the first time in program history on Thursday, as freshman midfielder Emmanuel Iwe signed a deal with the new team of development of Minnesota United MNUFC2.

MNUFC2 is one of 21 clubs that will participate in the new MLS Next Pro league for its inaugural 2022 season. MNUFC2 is the premier professional development team for Minnesota United, the St. Paul-based team that plays in Major League Soccer .

SCSU head coach Sean Holmes says Iwe came to the attention of MNUFC2 while at a tryout camp over winter break.

“(Emmanuel) always wanted to be a pro,” Holmes said by phone Thursday. “I think it’s a great opportunity for him. It’s indicative of what we’re trying to do with our program to develop players to play at a high level…as our hockey team (SCSU) tries to produce guys for the NHL. , I don’t think it’s unreasonable that it’s one of our aspirations to produce MLS-level guys.”

Iwe was an all-conference player in SCSU’s first season in Division II football, scoring six goals and adding four assists. He started all 18 games and logged nearly 1,400 minutes.

“His first three steps with the ball are unprecedented,” Holmes said. “His explosiveness with the ball, I would put him in the top 1% of college football…I think that’s what caught the eye (of MNUFC2).”

Iwe is the first Minnesota native to sign for MNUFC2, graduating from St. Louis Park High School in 2019. MNUFC2 will play its first road match on March 26 before taking on Sporting Kansas City II on Sunday, April 3 at Allianz Field, Minnesota United’s 19,000 -seat stadium.

St. Cloud State's Emmanuel Iwe slides to his knees after scoring a goal Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 at Haws Field in Collegeville.

MNUFC2 games will be publicly available. Tickets go on sale March 23 for the first three games at Allianz Field and start at $15.

St. Cloud State has scheduled a spring friendly against MNUFC2 on Friday, facing its former teammate. SCSU will also face Division I St. Thomas on Friday at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

“Pro teams … are always looking for good college teams to play as practice games,” Holmes added. “I don’t know if we will officially score the points, it’s there for the development of our guys. It’s a great opportunity for our guys to play against professional players.”

Zach Dwyer is a sportswriter and photographer for the St. Cloud Times. Contact him at 320-406-5660 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @sctimeszach.

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