Soccer News: NASL’s Minnesota United FC Midfielder Miguel Ibarra Named NASL Player of the Month for September
Minnesota United FC midfielder Miguel Ibarra owned the month of September, and as a result, he has been named North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Month.
The 24-year-old midfielder scored four goals and added an assist in four September matches, and took home NASL Player of the Week honors twice. Ibarra was voted as Player of the Month by the media that regularly cover the league, edging Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward Fafa Picault and Minnesota United FC forward Christian Ramirez.
“It’s an honor to win Player of the Month, but again all thanks goes to my teammates and the man above. I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Ibarra. “We’ve had a really good month and have been playing really well as a team and we need to continue to play well. We want to make sure we stay in first place. Every game counts for us and every game we look to get three points.”
The Lancaster, California native helped United pick up 10 points in four September matches – a stretch that saw the team take sole possession of first place in both the Fall Season and Combined Standings.
Following a 1-1 draw against the visiting Tampa Bay Rowdies on September 6, Ibarra scored the game-winner seven days later for United as they defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 2-1.
Ibarra then posted a two-goal performance – his first ever brace at the professional level – in a 2-0 road victory over the San Antonio Scorpions on September 20. Eight days later, he tallied a goal and assisted on Ramirez’s game-winner in United’s 3-2 victory over host Ottawa Fury FC.
“Individually Miguel has had some outstanding games, and I think he would be the first one to say as a group we are trying to get better,” said United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “The team has been challenged a bit, and we had a run where we weren’t getting results. He has really stepped up his game individually these last few weeks at a time when the team really needed him to do so. It’s a sign of his maturation.”
Named to the NASL’s Best XI in 2013, Ibarra has played in Minnesota since 2012. He has made 70 regular season appearances, scoring 12 goals and dishing out nine assists in his time with the club.
Prior to joining United, Ibarra played two years of college soccer at Taft College (2008-2009) before transferring to UC Irvine (2010-2011), where he would go on to compile a total of 34 goals and 40 assists. During his collegiate career, Ibarra also spent time with a pair of PDL teams, the Lancaster Rattlers from 2008-2010, and then Orange County Blue Star in 2011.
In total, 10 players were nominated for the NASL Player of the Month award for September. The other candidates up for recognition were:
- Nazmi Albadawi, Midfielder – Carolina RailHawks
- Rafael Castillo, Midfielder – San Antonio Scorpions
- Cesar Elizondo, Midfielder – San Antonio Scorpions
- Oliver, Forward – Ottawa Fury FC
- Romauld Peiser, Goalkeeper – Ottawa Fury FC
- Fafá Picault, Forward – Fort Lauderdale Strikers
- Christian Ramirez, Forward – Minnesota United FC
- Mads Stokkelien, Forward – New York Cosmos
- Matt Van Oekel, Goalkeeper – Minnesota United FC
The previous winners of NASL Player of the Month in 2014 have been Zack Schilawski, Carolina RailHawks (April); Christian Ramirez (May/June), (August); Rafael Castillo, San Antonio Scorpions (July).