Minnesota United is nearing a transfer to bring Medina's Caden Clark back home from Germany's Bundesliga, starting next season.
The Loons traded his homegrown MLS rights to the New York Red Bulls in October 2020. It was a deal Clark sought as a steppingstone to play in Europe for the Red Bulls' affiliated RB Leipzig club in Germany's top division.
He became at age 17 the youngest player in MLS history to score in his first two league games and the youngest to score in the MLS Cup playoffs. Clark played 47 games for the New York Red Bulls in two-plus seasons, ending in 2022.
He was sold to Leipzig in July 2021 but was loaned out three times after that. Included is a loan on Friday that sent him to Danish club Vendsyssel FF for the rest of 2023.
A midfielder who has played four positions there, he is expected to join the Loons in January.
"He has proved in this league he can score a goal," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "He's 20 years of age, incredibly athletic and the most Important thing for me is that he wants to be here."
Heath spoke Friday on a video call with reporters from San Jose, where his team plays Saturday night.
Clark trained with the Loons in Blaine the past two weeks as the European transfer window's closing on Friday approached.
He was with RB Leipzig in 2023, but never played a game.
"Obviously, things have not gone great for him the last year," Heath said. "I always say this about players dreaming of going to Europe, the holy grail of going to Europe: It's really important when you go and where you go and what's there for you."
Now Clark is coming home, just as Heath did during his playing days long ago with his hometown Stoke City.
"He wants to play in front of family and friends," Heath said. "I get that. I've done that myself and I know how important it is for kids. And I'm delighted we've got a 20-year-old kid we know can play, can score goals and I think will be a huge asset for us going forward."
Heath said he has maintained a dialogue between the two ever since the Loons couldn't sign Clark the first time around.
"Everybody knows how frustrated I was when he left to go to Red Bulls," Heath said. "I'm just happy we're going to sign the kid and he's going to play the next years of his career here because he's still very, very young."
Add Clark to a growing list of promising young players the Loons have added: Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Joseph Rosales, Sang Bin Jeong, Mender Garcia and Ethan Bristow, among them.
"We've quietly tried to get younger and more athletic than we've been in the past and he's another one of them," Heath said. "He wants to play for Minnesota. He's got that opportunity, and now it's up to him. The last year and a half has proven to him the road of being a professional footballer is not very, very, very easy. There's a lot of ups and downs along the way, but he's still a young man."
Clark will play in Denmark's first division before he comes home.
"It's important he plays," Heath said. "He has not played enough football for a young kid the last six or eight months. Now he needs to get some football, get his mind right and we'll welcome him back in January."