A Woodbury, Minn. native, Kallman signed his first professional contract with Minnesota United in 2013 and worked his way into the first XI last season. In his first year as a starter, Kallman played 2,574 minutes for the club, third most on the team behind only Justin Davis and Christian Ramirez. Kallman had competing offers from NASL clubs, but decided to stay in his home state, making him the first Minnesotan to sign for Minnesota in MLS.
“It wasn’t a hard decision,” Kallman told FiftyFive.One. “I think with where I’m at right now, I really want to get into a higher level training environment so I can keep growing as a player. The fact that I can do that here at the club that I started with, in my hometown, just made way too much sense for me to consider leaving.”
So far, the Loons’ back line boasts some familiar faces, as Kallman joins fellow former-NASL defenders Davis and Kevin Venegas in MLS.
“It makes the transition a little easier because you already have some familiarity with the guys’ strengths and weaknesses,” Kallman says. “Along with the players on other parts of the pitch, I have some communication already built up to make the adjustment to the higher level a little easier.”
In stark contrast to last season, center back looks to be a position of depth for the Loons. Kallman figures to start 2017 behind a pair of internationals in Vadim Demidov and Francisco Calvo, but looks forward to the competition.
“I would like to get on the field and directly help the team, but I know that might be tough for me right away,” Kallman admits. “It was similar when I signed with Minnesota United out of college, playing with players that were much better than me. It forced me to grow to keep up and eventually become a good player. I want to grow as quick as possible so that I’m not trying to keep up but so I can be ahead of the game. I know it will take time, but I want it to be as short as possible.”
Brazillian midfielder Ibson is known by United fans for his attacking abilities as much as his fiery personality on the pitch. Signing with the Loons two seasons ago, Ibson was played as a shuttling midfielder, scoring six goals in his debut season in Minnesota . In 2015, the veteran midfielder earned NASL Best XI honors for his efforts.
Last season, Ibson saw his playing time decrease after starting the season injured and struggling to come back to form, resulting in just one goal in 2016. While still given freedom on the pitch, Ibson was given more specific instructions on defending in his second year with the club.
Ibson could not be reached as of the time of publication.
Jeff Rueter contributed to this report.