Minnesota United announced on Thursday morning that defender Brent Kallman had been suspended for 10 games and fined 20 percent of his annual salary by Major League Soccer for violating the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Policy. Kallman will be ineligible for the team’s remaining four regular season games, as well as any playoff games and the start of the next MLS season.
Kallman, per the MLS CBA and the team’s release, cannot train with the team or use the facilities at the National Sports Center in Blaine or at Allianz Field during his suspension, and cannot attend team events. He will likely be out of the team until next April.
After training on Thursday morning, Adrian Heath commented on the issue. “The one person this is going to affect more than anybody is Brent himself,” he said. “He’s been really apologetic to the rest of the group, which we’ve expected. I know they’ll all be really supportive. But the most important thing is that we realize now that Brent’s not going to be with us, he’s not going to be there. It’s going to be an opportunity for Wyatt [Omsberg] should something happen to our center backs, and we move on.”
Kallman himself released a statement on Instagram. “During the summer, I was struggling with ongoing injuries and other health issues,” he said. “Instead of using our medical and performance staff as I should have, I started using a product that I thought would help me get back to full fitness quicker to be available to help the team. I take full responsibility for making such a careless, stupid decision.”
The native of Woodbury will finish his third MLS season with his fewest games played in any of Minnesota’s three years in the league. Along with Miguel Ibarra, Kallman is one of two remaining Loons to play with Minnesota before their ascension to MLS. Each year, he has started out of Adrian Heath’s preferred starting XI, and each time he has worked his way back into it, starting 23 games in 2017 and 22 last season.
However, this will be his longest journey back yet, and with the combination of the great play of Michael Boxall and Ike Opara in the starting lineup and Omsberg’s consistent progress both in his play at Forward Madison and in his short stints with the big club, the writing may be on the wall for Kallman’s time in Minnesota.
Even before this suspension, the injuries he mentions had taken their toll on his availability, and Boxall and Opara took advantage. He had played in just three of a possible 14 MLS games after a 1-0 loss to Colorado in June marked the end of ten straight starts. However, what will have been his final appearance of the season was a defensive masterclass in the Loons’ famous 2-0 win at Banc of California Stadium against LAFC.
Kallman will turn 29 in a couple of weeks, and remains more than good enough to play at an MLS level. His suspension simply outlines a lack of starting space for him that has developed over the last three months, and leaves the opening for him to slide further down the depth chart.