The Red Bulls released their training camp roster today.
In addition to the 26 rostered players -- Armando and Richard Eckersley included -- they've brought along 10 guest players, three of whom, Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo, Tyler Polak and Miguel Ibarra, are trialists. The rest are academy players.
If Ibarra, who was first connected with the team in a report last week from Big Apple Soccer, rings a bell, it's because he's been around American soccer circles before. Born in New York, he was drafted by the Portland Timbers out of the University of California Irvine in 2012, got cut, but ended up with the NASL's Minnesota United. In 2013, he earned NASL Best XI honors.
Minnesota United, then, wasn't thrilled with the news, with President Nick Rogers tersely dismissing it.
Ibarra was quick to confirm Rogers take on the situation.
Then, Big Apple Soccer walked their report back, citing a source that Minnesota not only wanted medical coverage should Ibarra be hurt, but expected the Red Bulls to pay a transfer fee.
But here we are on Tuesday, with "Miguel Ibarra" right there on the Red Bulls' pre-season roster.
But what if that's not the right Miguel Ibarra?
A third Big Apple Soccer report from today confirms that there is, in fact, a Miguel Ibarra with the Red Bulls in Florida. It's just not the Miguel Ibarra you think. This one's Ecuadorian.
And while that might sound like a convenient excuse to sneak in a player they want in some sort of absurd, cloak-and-dagger subterfuge, it's not. A Miguel Ibarra plying is trade in the Ecuadorian first division was connected to the league in a 2012 profile. Bizarrely enough, this Ibarra was also born in New York, meaning the right back wouldn't take up an international slot.
Despite leaving New York at the age of three, the profile notes, the 29-year-old's mother still lived in the city as late as December 2011. His English is solid and he's even something of a Red Bulls fan, apparently. According to ESPN FC, who lists his name as Washington Ibarra, he plays with Deportivo Quito, but hasn't made an appearance since November.
So that's the New York-born Miguel Ibarra we're looking for. Not that other New York-born Miguel Ibarra.