Brent Kallman (pictured) and Ibson have signed on for MNUFC's inaugural MLS season - Photo via Digital Gopher.


Loons Bring Back Kallman, Ibson

by on 23 January 2017

Minnesota United FC announced today that the club has signed 26-year-old center back Brent Kallman and 33-year-old midfielder Ibson to MLS contracts. Both players are familiar faces returning from last year’s NASL squad.

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.”

Brazilian midfielder Ibson was with MN United for 2 years in NASL and has signed with the club’s first MLS season. Photo via Digital Gopher.

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.


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  • Chris RB

    He gets a lot of flak, and a lot of it is deserved, but I really like bringing Ibson along. He’s got a lot of ability on the ball, and always seemed to be a mental step ahead of the other players on the pitch. With some better teammates, and better injury luck I think he can really kick on.

    It would also help if he wasn’t used defensively, I think he thrives when he can be more creative.

    • Kevin Hill

      Completely agree with you. Definitely has a creative spark. However, I’d like to see him avoid high kicks directed towards other players..

      • Chris RB

        Yikes yes. Koscielny nearly lost teeth this weekend because of a high boot.

        I won’t mention that he was offside at the time…

  • William Schroepfer

    I love me my Ibson. I can’t wait for him to let loose with a cast of higher quality players. At times I thought he outplayed his team. Very exciting.

  • Tres Gatos

    I love both of these signings.

    I am not a fan of Minnesota teams signing Minnesotans, just for the sake of signing Minnesotans. Kallman has developed over time and deserves a shot at the next level to compete and prove his worth.

    As for Ibson, I believe this signing should have been a no-brainer for MNUFC. When the team played poorly for stretches, Ibson was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise forgettable season. I am so happy to see Ibson given the chance to contribute to this MLS squad. With his creativity and touch, as well as actual defensive capable mids playing alongside of him, I believe he could have an even better season in the MLS than he ever did in the NASL.

    • Really?!?!?

      Agree completely on both of these.

  • Really?!?!?

    Solid depth signings – both of them. Kallman can be a solid backup now and hopefully turn into a MLS-level starter eventually. Ibson is underrated IMO and could provide sneakily high-level offensive play with better pieces around him. I’m starting to like the roster. Just get an all-star level / TAM-level / DP-level player or two (AM/Winger, CB/DM, and/or even another striker) and some young players in here (way behind on this front – get the Academy & USL teams going!), and I’ll be even more hopeful.

  • Almontanello

    we need a reliable GK

  • Vinyl Haircut

    Very happy to have Kallman. Big step up for him, but he’s young enough and has steadily improved. He has the size and toughness.

    Will have to respectfully disagree with the positive comments about Ibson. Yes, he *occasionally* makes a creative play, but not nearly enough for an MLS-level #10. Too many people confuse time on the ball with actual offensive productivity. To top it off, in my view he is a diver and a whiner. I honestly hope he’s been signed as a practice body and never actually sees the field in a game.

    Think we’ll also sign Bernardo Anor as another depth player? We didn’t see enough of him last year to really come to any firm conclusions, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was added as well.

    • Tres Gatos

      Who is to say he is a #10? He has more 8 to him, than 10. A lot of players play for a call, as well as have chatter with the ref throughout. Turn on any game in any league and it can be seen. I would take his creativity any day over a vanilla guy that is a dime a dozen.

      Will he start? I am not certain anyone said he would. Could he contribute to our team the next year or two? F*ck yes. 😎

      • Vinyl Haircut

        I certainly agree that many players play for a call and whine to refs. It can be effective, but it’s just not one that I enjoy watching. I also never claimed that anyone called him a starter. In 2015, he had some nice creative attacking moments. He fought some injuries in 2016, to be fair, but his effectiveness really dropped off a lot in my opinion. Can he help off the bench in MLS? Remains to be seen … I hope you’re right. At this point in his career, maybe he can at least help teach the young guys what it means to be a professional. As for meaningful in-game contributions, I’m pretty skeptical. I don’t want a “vanilla” guy either, but would rather see us give the minutes to younger guys with a higher ceiling.

        • Tyler Gilboe

          “I don’t want a “vanilla” guy either, but would rather see us give the minutes to younger guys with a higher ceiling.” YES!!! We drafted Tanner Thompson for a reason, damnit!

          • Really?!?!?

            Ibson has been a pretty good player over the course of his career. And I think he still has a fair amount left. If you look at that career, that is a pretty high ceiling that Tanner would have to have to reach the same heights IMO….

    • Tyler Gilboe

      I really would rather not waste a roster spot on Bernado Anor. He’s had enough time to establish himself and prove he’s of MLS quality, and he hasn’t done that. That would be an extremely underwhelming signing in my opinion. I think that Ibson is going to be an awesome low risk-high reward type player. He’s not going to be a starter, he might not even be on the bench every match, but I think he’ll be a fantastic creative option coming off the bench late in matches when we need a spark. Again, this is all just my opinion.

      • Vinyl Haircut

        I agree that Anor would be underwhelming and not something that I’m hoping for. At the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they added him. As for Ibson, your scenario probably the best use case – down by a goal late in the match. Lots of people love him, and I hope they’re right. 🙂

      • Really?!?!?

        Agree with this on Ibson.

        And overall on Añor too. However, that said, maybe Añor deserves one more MLS shot this year; he was OK with the Crew, and serviceable overall in MLS after all as a depth player – just will never be a star / consistent starter IMO. Then, if MN finds a better player down the road, maybe he is traded or let go. Hell, maybe he even tries to develop more of his game to be used at other positions. Just trying to think of best case scenarios with him….