ST. PAUL — Minnesota United has signed its first homegrown player, a source said Monday, Jan. 20.
Goalkeeper Fred Emmings of St. Paul has earned that distinction as the 6-foot-5, 210-pound player has climbed within United’s youth development academy system.
Emmings, who turns 16 in February, has trained with the Loons’ first team in addition to playing for the youth squads over the years. The plan for him in 2020 has yet to be sorted out, but likely will include time with the MLS team, the club’s USL affiliate Forward Madison (Wis.) and the youth side.
He was included in a promotional video the club posted online Monday, the first day of training for the 2020 season. Emmings greeted another player in the dressing room in front of a locker with his nameplate.
Emmings was on the Loons’ Under-15 team last year and is on the U-17 roster now. United still must add a U19 team. As the development structure is built out, United will want to establish a regular channel of promising young players capable of playing in MLS or with the ability to sell them to other clubs.
He was called up to a U.S. youth national team camp in January 2018, which is common as more players are scouted and cycled through. As a dual national, Emmings also worked with the Luxembourg Under-16 team last summer.
Emmings is from St. Paul’s Merriam Park neighborhood and has played for Highland Groveland Recreation Association and the St. Paul Blackhawks club team before joining United’s system.
United has three goalkeepers on its first-team roster: Tyler Miller, the presumed starter after being traded from Los Angeles FC last week; Gregory Ranjitsingh, a backup selected in the waiver draft; and Dayne St. Clair, a prospect taken with the seventh pick in the 2019 SuperDraft.
United announced Monday the hiring of Sean McAuley as the assistant coach to replace Mark Watson. After last season, Watson moved from the sideline to the front office as technical director.
McAuley spent two seasons as an assistant at Orlando City and six years with the Portland Timbers, including an MLS Cup in 2015. The Englishman also worked for Sheffield Wednesday FC, and was a product of Manchester United’s youth system before a 15-year playing career.