ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota United FC has signed forward Aaron Schoenfeld from Israeli Premier League-side Maccabi Tel Aviv. To complete the signing, MNUFC sent a second-round 2021 SuperDraft pick to Columbus Crew SC in exchange for Schoenfeld’s MLS rights. The compensation could rise should Schoenfeld meet undisclosed performance-based metrics.
MNUFC head coach Adrian Heath told Pro Soccer USA Sunday he had previously tried to sign Schoenfeld when the former was coaching Orlando City. Schoenfeld made his way back onto Heath’s radar when the Loons were scouting another player on Tel Aviv’s roster, and Schoenfeld’s play stood out on video.
Standing 6-foot-4 and nicknamed “The big celery,” Schoenfeld’s height provides a different brand of play than fellow Loons forwards Mason Toye and Luis Amarilla offer, Heath believes. Schoenfeld also adds needed depth to MNUFC’s roster following the departures of forwards Abu Danladi and Ángelo Rodríguez this winter.
“[He’s] another one who’s sort-of learned his trade,” Heath said. “He gets good positions between the fullback and centerback on the back post, and when you’re 6-foot-4, it’s a problem [for defenses].”
Schoenfeld was originally drafted by the Montreal Impact in 2012, but made his professional debut with Columbus that same year. Schoenfeld made 51 appearances with the Crew, tallying five goals and three assists. The lanky forward spent the last three years with Tel Aviv, contributing nine goals and 11 assists over 71 appearances.
“Aaron gives us extra strength and depth at the forward position,” said Heath. “He’s been in the league, he’s experienced. And we know that during the year, Mason will be at the Olympics, and the strength and depth is going to be necessary. Between Aaron, Amarilla and Mason, we feel as though we’re in a really good spot. [Schoenfeld]’s a little bit different than what we have: he’s 6-foot-4, he’s very good with his back to the goal, he’s good coming on late in games if we need to put balls in the box.
“We feel as though he was great value for the money and — having worked with him before because we tried to sign him in Orlando — he’s a great kid and we think he’ll fit into what we’re trying to build here.”
Heath also said Schoenfeld, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, was looking to return to the States and play in MLS, making the timing right for both the player and his new team.