If your eye was especially sharp, you may have noticed an extra body on the bench for Minnesota last night during their 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. If not, ESPN’s Jon Champion broke the news late in the second half: Stewart Kerr has been hired as the team’s new goalkeeping coach. The Loons confirmed the move Friday morning, announcing that John Pascarella will remain with the team in an assistant coaching role.
Kerr comes to the Loons with nearly a decade of coaching experience following an eleven-year playing career in Scotland and England. The 44-year old broke through with Glasgow giants Celtic to play as a rotational goalkeeper, amassing 39 appearances over eight seasons before back injuries ended his career at Wigan Athletic in 2002. After spells as a youth coach, Kerr first guided the net-minders at Airdrie, Partick Thistle, and Motherwell before spending the last decade in North America.
Beginning his MLS run in 2011 with Toronto FC, Kerr oversaw the development of Stefan Frei and Joe Bendik, as well as the ill-fated loan of Brazilian #1 Julio Cesar in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. After taking a consulting role with the Reds following the 2014 firing of head coach Ryan Nelsen, Kerr moved south in December 2015 to take a place on Adrian Heath’s Orlando City staff and reunite with Bendik; the 2016 season went on to be the best of Bendik’s career, as he earned eleven MLS Saves of the Week. Kerr then moved back to Canada to work under Carl Robinson in Vancouver, working as the Whitecaps’ Director of Goalkeeping for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Champion’s initial announcement left fans wondering what resulting changes occurred with the rest of the technical staff. While no official word has come through on what his new role entails, the former goalkeeping coach Pascarella was seen on the bench during Thursday night’s broadcast. He took to Twitter to discuss the move:
To all @MNUFC supporters & friends. I'M STILL HERE & LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!— John Pascarella (@JPSoccerCoach) August 23, 2019
Had the opportunity to work more closely with Adrian & the field players so the move made sense for everyone. Thanks for all of the texts and IM's.
Now, let's make the playoffs & win the open cup https://t.co/ucE8DRaLnD
Pascarella’s switch gives the Loons three assistant coaching spots not devoted to the goalkeepers. While the vast majority of teams carry two assistants, clubs like Atlanta and Toronto boast four assistants, with Minnesota becoming the fifth team in the league with a three-man field assistant crew. It’s a return for Pascarella to expanded duties, as he managed the Des Moines Menace of USL League Two in 2017 prior to taking the MNUFC Goalkeeping Coach position.