Minnesota United Chief Soccer Officer Manny Lagos held a Zoom call with academy families on Friday evening, partially addressing the uncertainty surrounding United’s academy but taking no questions in a call that lasted less than 15 minutes.
In a recording of the meeting, Lagos began by talking about the first team’s semifinal performance at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Fla. Lagos said the team was currently in flight back to Minnesota, and that he “believes” the season will restart on Aug. 22, “probably” without fans at Allianz Field for the beginning.
Lagos indirectly addressed recent reports from E Pluribus Loonum that Minnesota United was planning for a largely “part-time” academy structure.
“I want you guys to protect yourselves and your kids,” Lagos said on the call. “In terms of what you (families) give to the media, right now, there’s been a lot of stuff given to the media that has been grossly inaccurate.”
Lagos provided no information to contradict Loonum’s report.
He urged families to “remember things as glass half full” despite the lack of news. On July 14 — almost four weeks ago — Lagos told families in an email to expect an “exciting announcement” in “10-14 days.”
“In the coming weeks, we’re going to have a really big announcement about staff, about the organization and about what we’re doing with the MLS vision,” Lagos said on the call, providing no concrete timeframe for such an update.
Lagos encouraged players to play high school soccer. The Minnesota State High School League season will be shortened, which Lagos said fits into the timeframe for the expected start of MLS’ new development system.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to do that (high school soccer) officially,” Lagos said, reminding families that information discussed on the calls is “confidential.”
Loonum also spoke with multiple academy parents immediately after. Those parents spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the reputations of their players.
Lagos spoke negatively of parents and sources who have provided information to the media, suggesting that keeping information private would “protect” the academy system.
“Just try to remember as parents — and make sure it’s a collective remembering — that the comments you make, until we really announce what we’re doing, will hurt the kids involved in the program.”
Lagos did not take any questions during the meeting.
“I’m not going to take a Q&A,” he said. “Because I want to protect you guys.”
Lagos said there would be future communication forthcoming with an official stance on high school soccer and a scheduling update from MLS, which he said should come in a week.
Some academy families were unimpressed by the information presented.
“It kind of feels like there’s always some ‘big news’ that never materializes,” one parent said. “We wait for these meetings, only to be told that we have to keep waiting.”
“I appreciate the touch point even if basically nothing was said,” another added. “With the side comment he made regarding staff announcements, I remain slightly hopeful that maybe they actually do have something real, like a big name academy hire in the works. But I won’t hold my breath.”
Lagos ended the meeting in a way that confused some on the call, by suggesting that families were at fault for negative effects of reports:
“I want to protect you guys from you,” Lagos said.