Minnesota United FC soccer head talks hiring Eric Ramsay as head coach

Minnesota United FC opened the 2024 regular season last Saturday with a 2-1 win at Austin FC. Two days later, the team named Eric Ramsay its next head coach, replacing Adrian Heath.

Thursday, Chief Soccer Officer Khaled El-Ahmad spoke for the first time after the Loons held training in Blaine about the decision to bring Ramsay in. He was most recently an assistant coach with Manchester United, and also helped coach the Wales National Team. What made Ramsay his guy?

"A combination of things. We thought Eric was best-suited in terms of intelligence, his approach to football aligns the way I look at it and the way we want Minnesota to go. His experience of managing and being at the highest level of football possible, the fact that he speaks several languages was quite important for us as well," El-Ahmad said. "We see ourselves as a global club, it’s a global sport. Overall, just very impressive."

The search to find Ramsay was extensive and detailed. Their initial candidate pool was more than 100, some couldn’t get to the U.S., others were too expensive. In the end, El-Ahmad’s vision aligns with what Ramsay brings to the table.

"I think it’s all potential, I don’t see it as a challenge. I think it’s a great opportunity for him to put in place all the things that he’s experienced and learned. It’s also not just Eric, this is a collaborative effort and Eric is just a good addition to this," El-Ahmad said.

El-Ahmads vision? Collaborate, play fast and be aggressive.

"I want us to be brave, I want us to show a bit of belief in what we’re doing. People should know this is Minnesota United. Alignment from top to bottom," El-Ahmad said. "Be a good person, be positive, be professional, be transparent at all times. There will be days where we disagree, I’ll always be positive, professional and transparent. It’s a collaborative approach of how we want to attack ups and downs, wins and losses."

El-Ahmad talked to his players and staff about Ramsay and asked them for their favorite restaurant recommendations for when he arrives to the Loons. He’s still working out a travel visa, but the hope is he gets to Minnesota in early March.

Their food choices might raise a few eyebrows.

"I was surprised how many players said Olive Garden. I thought they shut Olive Garden down when I went to college," El-Ahmad joked.

Ramsay will be allowed to bring in one assistant coach of his own. The rest of the staff will be a collaborative process. So what about interim coach Cameron Knowles? Put in a challenging spot, he led the Loons to a season-opening win as his future is uncertain.

"That discussion is to be had with him. I think he’s been great in embracing this role. He’s taken the opportunity and done a good job in a situation that is from one perspective uncertain, from others full of potential, it depends on how you look at it. He chose the potential path," El-Ahmad said.

Minnesota United FC hosts Columbus Crew in its 2024 home opener Saturday night at Allianz Field.