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Minnesota United Signs Young Cameroonian Attacker Frantz Pangop

by on 9 January 2018

On Tuesday, Minnesota United FC announced their first international signing of the offseason in Franz Pangop. The Cameroonian attacking midfielder comes as only the third signing of the offseason, a welcome announcement for Loons fans who had succumbed to the annual clarion call of #PANIC.

FiftyFive.One reached assistant coach Ian Fuller by phone to talk about the signing, since he was the primary scout on the ground in Cameroon. Fuller had traveled to Cameroon just after the 2017 season and watched Pangop playing with the domestic national team (often African national teams have some camps and matches with only domestically-based players).

What he saw when he watched Pangop play was “a really attacking minded player with a really good understanding of the game. He’s a wide player who comes in from the line to play. I was amazed at tactically gifted he was.” Fuller describes Pangop as a welcome addition of athleticism and goal-scoring.

Tactically, the most natural assumption is that the right-footed Pangop will play on the left, but drift inward. Fuller acknowledges that Minnesota already has a glut of such players with Ibarra, Nicholson, Leiton, and Molino able to play out left. However, he says “that’s a good problem for Adrian [Heath] to have.”

When he met Pangop in Cameroon, the first question the player asked him was “Is it cold in Minnesota?” Fuller explains that Pangop didn’t have too much knowledge about MLS or Minnesota beyond what a few other Cameroonians in MLS have told him. And Fuller says he told Pangop that “You play in the summer, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

We reached Fuller as he was on his way to the MLS Caribbean Combine in Fort Lauderdale. He will then head up to Orlando for the regular MLS Combine, where he and the rest of the technical staff will be preparing for the January 19th SuperDraft.

Minnesota United has the 5th and 25th overall picks in the draft and Fuller says he’s looking forward to it [EDIT: article originally mistakenly said MNUFC had the 7th pick]. “I think there are quite a few prospects that are exciting. Even down to our 25th pick. If you look through the history of the top ten there are some players that end up doing really well” and he pointed to last year’s 7th overall pick, Julian Gressel who won Rookie of the Year.

Pangop’s signing comes at a time when fans had been clamoring for more announcements. CEO Chris Wright acknowledged as much when he spoke to the Dark Clouds Supporters Summit on Monday night and promised signings. He included the tidbit that today’s signing would be followed in a couple of weeks by a fellow Cameroonian international.

Pangop recently began playing for the Cameroonian national team, including scoring a late goal against Algeria in an October World Cup Qualifier. Check out that goal and a few Cameroonian hip hop beats below.

 

 


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  • Jacob

    Huh. Left wing. I wonder what we’re going to get for Ibarra?

    Gotta give the kid a chance to show what he can do, but I really am hoping at some point for a signing that doesn’t call for blind optimism.

    And, uh, are there any older Cameroonians that we could get excited about?

  • Dave Benhart

    “that’s a good problem for Adrian [Heath] to have.”
    But what about every other position on the field?

  • Vinyl Haircut

    Last year at this time, I got really excited about every signing. But now I’m older and wiser …

  • Troy Kadlec

    This particular signing is a little puzzling. Unless we have a trade lined up for Ibarra, do you really need another winger? I didn’t see a lot in his highlight reels to get excited about. He’s young, maybe he’s more talented than the video on him shows. He better be worth the international slot you just gave up. Strikes me as a move similar to Leiton. There might be something there, maybe not.

    I think the “other” signing from Cameroon will be a little more interesting. There are some lesser known quality players on the Cameroon national team. They have a center back in Ibrahim Amadou that is intriguing. He’d be a DP and he’s a CB for Lillie and a MF for the Cameroon national team. But he’s also the captain of a Ligue 1 team, so I’m not sure we’re really willing to pony up the money to get a guy like him. They have a bevy of young defenders and midfielders, so it could be interesting. Onyongo came from Cameroon and so did Nouhou Tolo, so maybe there is some talent being overlooked or underappreciated.

    • Jacob

      I’m tempering my expectations. Sounds like Fuller was scouting a camp for domestically-based Cameroon national team members, so I wouldn’t expect guys on European clubs to have been around. I’d love to be wrong though.

    • C_A

      little puzzling? it is total mind bugling.

      • Jacob

        [cartoon image of Manny raucously playing the bugle inside my head].

        Yeah, totally mind bugling.

  • nathan3e

    MNUFC has the 5th pick in the upcoming draft.

    • Wes

      you’re right! I wrote that correctly at first then changed it because I’m dumb.

  • Chris RB

    Initially I saw that he scored 6 and got 2 assists in around 880 minutes (granted for the Swedish 3rd division)…. then I was notified that that was in 2014, and he’s apparently only played for the National team since.

    I’ll give him a chance…. seems like less-exciting Nicholson though.

    • Kigge

      Swedish football fan here, very suprised to read this. “Frasse Pangpå” as we nick named him got popular for beeing hard working and pacy but perhaps not too smart and physically weak. The lad didn’t get offered a new contract and then two years later shows up in the MLS.

      • Chris RB

        You certainly would know his quality better than I. Mostly I’m suspicious of our management’s ability to scout effectively- it’s less a doubt about Pangop and more our scouting.

        BUT, glad to hear he’s well thought of in Sweden! Appreciate the thoughts!

        • Kigge

          It’s noteworthy too that the team, Örgryte IS got demoted to the third division for financial reasons. The squad still included mostly professional players with experience from higher up in the league tier. Frantz was young, definetly had potential and a lot of us wished he would have been offered a new contract even if he failed to stand out.
          Basically, if he hasn’t improved since he was with us he has nothing to do in the MLS. But with how dedicated he seemed to be i wouldn’t be suprised if he’s grown and does an okay job for you.

          …oh, and if you ever see Mikael Stahre, the new manager of San Jose then tell him he’s a cunt, would you? 😉

          • Jacob

            Thanks for stopping by with the inside scoop!

          • Chris RB

            Excellent!

      • C_A

        Hard working and pacy, but not too smart and physically weak… Why am I not surprised?

  • John Asbury

    I’d like to see us sign five MLS veterans that are proven, safe, and don’t totally suck. Not superstars, just adequate in case of injuries, World Cup call-ups, and if younger players don’t pan out. Then three or four roll the dice players. I hate to be a downer, but we don’t have the history, money, or facilities to convince a superstar to come to the North….so we should stop looking for it.

  • Bruce J McGuire

    In order to sign Pangop I would hope the team felt he was better than anyone currently on the roster, and an automatic starter. Otherwise its a wasted signing to add another left sided midfielder.

  • markgoody

    What’s the word on the MNUFC USL affiliate that was going to Rochester? I thought that was supposed to launch in 2018. This would be a great signing (and great for draft picks) if we had that in place.