Minnesota United announced today the club has signed 2021 MLS SuperDraft first-round picks Justin McMaster and Nabilai Kibunguchy. Both players have signed one-year contracts with three option years.
“Great attitude, good ability and a lot of potential. We spoke to the two of them and it’s just the beginning for them now,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “They’ve mixed straight away with the first team players, they’re both confident in their own ability, they’ve not been on the back foot. We think there’s a lot of growth there. They’ve got to start bringing it every day now, it’s not a three month season like it is in college. Expectations are higher, expectations from us, every single day are going to be higher than they’ve been used to. But we like them and it’s a great opportunity for them.”
With the 17th pick, Minnesota selected midfielder Justin McMaster from Wake Forest University. McMaster made 58 game appearances across four seasons at Wake Forest with 12 goals and eight assists. The Jamaican international has represented Jamaica at the youth national team level, most recently joining the 2016 U18 National Team Camp and participating in the 2013 and 2015 Concacaf U15 and U18 Championships, respectively. Additionally, McMaster played as an amateur for USL Club Bethlehem and as a member of the Philadelphia Union Academy.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to sign professional and with Minnesota, I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” said midfielder Justin McMaster. “I’ve been enjoying the team, getting used to it over here. I was really excited to sign, my family was really proud. It was a really, really good moment for me. I’m a young guy and I’m adapting to the intensity but it’s really good so far, I feel very welcomed. The older guys try to help and bring me under their wing.”
Kibunguchy was selected with the 18th overall pick by Minnesota. The defender from California has 52 game appearances across four seasons at UC Davis, including starting all 20 games in the 2019 season. In 2019, Kibunguchy was named 2019 All-Big West Conference First Team and Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Internationally, Kibunguchy was selected for the U.S. U19 Men’s National Team for the Slovakia Cup, helping the U.S. to the title with a 2-1 win over Russia in the finals.
“The feeling of all my hard work the last 23 years of life, it paid off and I was just excited. That moment was like nothing other,” said defender Nabilai Kibunguchy. “I called my parents right away. They are in Kenya and came down for the draft but it was good to call them and finally tell them I finally got signed.”
MNUFC returns to the pitch for its fifth season in MLS. Follow Minnesota United’s social channels and check our website at mnufc.com for regular updates on the club.
Transaction: Minnesota United signs Justin McMaster and Nabilai Kibunguchy to one-year contracts with three option years.
Date of birth: 06.30.1999 (21 years old)
Weight: 165 lbs
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Date of birth: 01.05.1998 (23 years old)
Birthplace: Elk Grove, California