The following story contains an account of domestic violence. Reader discretion is advised.
Update (Jan. 22, 1:15p): Jeff Rueter of the Athletic reports that there was no conflict within Minnesota United in the decision to look elsewhere for a goalkeeper, contradicting an earlier report from a podcast that cited multiple sources (see below).
Regarding some gossip from yesterday:— Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter) January 22, 2019
There wasn’t any in-fighting as #MNUFC chose to pass on Agustín Rossi, per sources with direct knowledge of those discussions. Once the severity of his situation was known, the team universally decided to move on.
Manny Lagos was not available upon request Tuesday, and Adrian Heath declined to comment, as per club policy.
Update (Jan. 21, 8:11p): Uncle Sam’s Soccer Pod has reported, citing multiple sources, that Minnesota United Sporting Director Manny Lagos still wanted to sign Agustín Rossi after allegations of domestic violence surfaced, but manager Adrian Heath and other club staff preferred to move on.
More on Rossi: sources close to the club tell us that Sporting Director Manny Lagos still wanted to sign the GK amidst allegations, but Manager Adrian Heath and staff wanted to move on from Rossi and did. #MNUFC— Uncle Sam's SoccerPod (@UncSamSoccerPod) January 22, 2019
As of now, they are now looking elsewhere to find a GK. https://t.co/AtgsSN80OO
The report also emphasizes that United is still in the search for a goalkeeper.
After “gladly” agreeing to answer a submitted list of questions on Friday, we have not received a response from Rossi’s agent.
Update: (Jan. 19, 8:50p): Reports from Argentina are now stating that Minnesota United’s move for Agustín Rossi was not cancelled by the club, but by Major League Soccer itself.
We have reached out to MLS for comment and made contact with Rossi’s agent. We will hopefully have updates and clarity regarding this situation soon.
Update (Jan. 18, 1:30p): TyC Sports of Argentina has obtained what appears to be an official document stating that Agustin Rossi does not have a criminal record in Argentina. Their report explains that his agent will present the document to Minnesota United in the hopes of re-starting the talks of a move.
We are exploring options of obtaining documentation from Argentina.
Update (Jan. 18, 9:26a): It appears that Miguel González Zelada, the agent of Agustin Rossi, has given a radio interview in Argentina. The radio station has been posting quotes on their Twitter page.
“I really don’t know what will happen to [Rossi],” said González Zelada according to the account of the interview. “We are waiting for a decision between today and Monday [...] Agustin is calm. We are waiting for other things and working. We hope that MLS clarifies the situation to be able to travel.”
According to the account, González Zelada said Rossi was “extorted” and Rossi has filed a criminal complaint against his accuser.
González Zelada also denied the narrative that a work visa was the issue. “What is being said about the work visa is a lie,” he said, according to the account. “It has no background or anything. Everything was built through invented lies.”
We will have further updates as the story continues to develop.
Update (Jan. 17, 7:45p): We spoke to Kara Lynum, a St. Paul immigration lawyer, about what could cause Rossi’s visa to fall through — if that is what kept the deal from happening. The federal government shutdown could not have played a role as the Department of State is still running, she explained. Domestic violence, she said, “can be a crime involving moral turpitude” and could be “discretionary” grounds to deny a visa.
A source familiar both with immigration law and the situation surrounding Rossi said that a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) is a “likely” explanation for the denial.
INA Act 212(a)(2)(a)(i) describes the grounds for denial:
[A] crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense) or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime
Again, we cannot confirm that there ever was a deal for Rossi in place, that his visa was denied, or that the above reason was in play.
Update (Jan. 17, 4:30p): The consensus among Argentine media outlets is now that Agustín Rossi will not be moving to Minnesota United on a loan deal. Many cite an issue with a work visa — something the Loons have not had come up in the past — but others say it was the opposition of supporters (see previous update below) that turned the deal upside down.
Update (Jan. 16, 4:20p): The Wonderwall, the coalition of Minnesota United supporters’ groups, has released the following statement:
Wonderwall stands for an inclusive, dynamic environment for fans to support Minnesota United FC. We’re passionate about our support for the club that we love and the communities in which we operate. Recently, MNUFC has been linked with Agustin Rossi, who has had domestic violence allegations levied against him by a former partner. We urge MNUFC to reconsider this potential transfer as this behavior is unacceptable and is not welcome in our community.
Original: Agustin Rossi, the current goalkeeper for Boca Juniors of Argentina, may be headed Minnesota United’s way.
Foreign and minor outlets seem to have reached a consensus that Rossi will be loaned to an MLS club, and Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press reported that the Loons are interested in the keeper. A small-scale Twitter account pointed out that Rossi was not a part of a Boca Juniors preseason game, possibly signaling a transfer.
Rossi carries an accusation of domestic violence from Argentina. Minuto Uno and other Argentine outlets reported this as Rossi first signed for Boca in early 2017.
A graphic from that piece appears to show evidence of physical abuse as well as text messages between Rossi and the victim.
“You better not open your mouth if you do not want it to be worse,” reads a translation of the first message that appears to be from Rossi.
A later message that appears to be from Rossi translates to read, “I admit that I hit you, but I admit that you always started it.”
The original Facebook post from the victim, posted in 2016, has since been deleted, but several published accounts quote the victim as saying she feared for her life and that Rossi locked her in an apartment and threatened her with a razor blade.
When asked about the accusation, Rossi is quoted as saying, in Spanish: “There is no complaint against me. It is a subject that already passed, that is finished. I must think about the now and the future.”
Rossi has also been linked to CA Huracán, another Argentine team. A feminist supporters’ group of the club asked for the club to not sign the player.
A translation of the statement reads:
As fans and partners we want to express our rejection of the signing of players who have complaints of domestic abuse and violence. At the same time, we consider that the situation demands that the [Argentine FA] improve the little to no training in gender perspective in all their categories and disciplines.
Minnesota United have not officially signed Agustín Rossi.