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Loons leader Amos Magee takes on new role in club’s youth development

Magee will vacate his role in the Loons’ front office in scouting and recruitment, which saw him routinely travel abroad in search of MLS talent.

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Amos Magee (shown at left next to former Loons player Darwin Quintero and coach Adrian Heath) is changing roles with the club. The St. Paul native will move from director of player personnel to overseeing the club’s youth development program.
Jeff Wheeler / Star Tribune / TNS file photo
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ST. PAUL -- Amos Magee is returning to the grassroots.

After serving as Minnesota United’s director of player personnel since the start of its MLS era in 2017, Magee will transition to oversee MNUFC’s youth development program, the club announced Wednesday. The St. Paul native will continue the build out of MNUFC’s youth development academy and its reserve team, MNUFC2.

Magee will vacate his role in the Loons’ front office in scouting and recruitment, which saw him routinely travel abroad in search of MLS talent. That department, which is led by manager Adrian Heath and technical director Mark Watson, doesn’t plan to make a corresponding addition to its staff, the Pioneer Press has learned.

Magee, 51, called himself a “graduate” of an informal youth pathway, which as a player took him from St. Paul Academy to collegiate soccer at Division III Wesleyan University, then Minnesota Thunder and MLS clubs Tampa Bay Mutiny and Chicago Fire. Magee coached the Thunder from 2006-08 and held front-office jobs with the Portland Timbers and D.C. United before coming home to Minnesota. Last year, Magee interviewed for D.C.’s then-vacant general manager position.

Magee took on this new position after discussions with CEO Shari Ballard and Chief Soccer Officer Manny Lagos. Magee was used to working in the first-team space but was open to a change. His new official title will be vice president of youth development, with Noel Quinn continuing as the director of youth development.

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“The more I thought about the opportunity to build out something that lasts, beyond (an MLS) roster of 18 and 30 players (and) last into many years afterwards for Minnesota, and for soccer players in Minnesota, which I consider myself a graduate of, then it made sense,” Magee said in an interview.

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Minnesota United hired Amos Magee to be its first director of player personnel in 2017. Magee, a St. Paul native, had an extensive playing career with the Minnesota Thunder before a front office career with the Portland Timbers and D.C. United.
Contributed / Minnesota United

The Loons have youth teams at the Under-15, U17 and U19 levels and up to MNUFC2, which debuted in 2022. MNUFC2’s league MLS NEXT Pro started last season, with Magee managing the roster buildout in a nascent league format.

The Loons’ second team has had a roster of players from three pools — academy players climbing the development ladder, outside players signed to join MNUFC2 and first-team MLS players coming down to receive more playing time. Magee said academy levels are improving and might make up a larger portion of the MNUFC2 roster in coming years..

“I think our academy group will be stronger moving forward,” Magee said of a system that was dissolved during the pandemic. “We’re a year into it (with MNUFC2). I think our U19 group is better than the previous, or is further along than the previous group. I think 17s group is further along, our 15s group is miles ahead. So I think that we’ll have some more players that will filter into that pool.”

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A primary objective is to develop youth players to the point where they sign homegrown contracts with MNUFC and then play in MLS. The Loons have had three Minnesota homegrown-signed players so far — goalkeeper Fred Emmings of St. Paul, forward Patrick Weah of Maple Grove and defender Devin Padelford of Maplewood. Weah made his MLS debut off the bench in one game in 2021.

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