Minnesota interim coach resigns seven weeks before MLS opener

Sean McAuley resigned as Minnesota United’s interim head coach on Friday, seven weeks before the Loons’ first Major League Soccer match.

McAuley left to pursue other opportunities, the team said. Cameron Knowles was named interim coach after serving as coach of Minnesota’s reserve team in the third-division MLS Next Pro the past two years.

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Minnesota announced in December that McAuley would continue in the role of interim head coach heading into the 2024 season. However, in announcing McAuley’s departure, the club said the search for a permanent head coach “is underway.”

McAuley became interim coach when Adrian Heath was fired on October 6 and led the Loons to a 5-2 win over LA Galaxy and a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Minnesota finished the league with 10 wins, 11 losses and 13 draws. The Loons were 11th in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Heath had been Minnesota’s coach since the team began play in 2017. The team opens at Austin FC on February 24.

Knowles, a native of New Zealand, was a video analyst for Minnesota in 2021 after nine seasons with the Portland Timbers that included six as an assistant and three as a second-team coach.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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