The Twin Cities: A Great Place For Soccer

News that MN United FC is set to become one of the future expansion teams highlights the strength of soccer in Minnesota
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

They thought they could drop the news without any of us realizing just because the season has just started and there’s all the new season jitters going on. The news that was just released, although most people that follow soccer in the US – especially MLS (and expansion news) as well as the NASL – knew what was in the works, is that the Minnesota United bid for MLS is expected to be accepted by the league.

With the most recent teams that have been welcomed into MLS – Orlando City SC and New York City FC – the news isn’t a shock to anyone (although it’s not official yet: that’ll most likely come in the next 2 months or so), but rather a confidence vote in MLS’s plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020 in cities that are crucial to TV markets, supporters, and soccer in general.

The Minnesota United bid, which encapsulated United, Twins, Timberwolves, and Lynx partners, shows the strength of the bid as well as the strategy of keeping an MLS team in Minnesota as part of the actual soccer landscape of the state rather than branching out to the new Vikings NFL stadium.

While the Vikings owners – Zygi Wilf and his family – put forth a bid to MLS, a major pitfall to their chances most certainly was that United has a plan for a soccer specific stadium, with grass (not turf), and one that’s downtown.

Additionally, unlike the (still) possible club based in Miami as David Beckham’s MLS project, Minnesota United – and a few other teams that could be possible future candidates after the 24 in 2020 like Sacramento Republic FB or Saint Louis Football Club – is currently a functioning soccer club that has a fan base, a solid investment group, and big ambitions (whether that’s winning the next NASL Soccer Bowl or moving up to Major League Soccer).

With the impending accepted bid from the Minnesota United group and MLS, that means plans and ideas come to life and action needs to happen. With some rumblings that at least one Minnesota representative will immediately nix any recommendation or request for public funding, the bid team members will need to get to work to figure out the financing of a soccer specific stadium downtown Minneapolis, or possibly St. Paul.

Focusing on the upper Midwest is vital to the league, mainly because it’s a locale that is parched for the highest level of professional soccer; and transitioning Minnesota United FC (or however that move would happen) to MLS would be a big thing for the northlands of Minnesota, parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

After Minnesota, there are many places Major League Soccer could look to expand after the 24 clubs are decided for by 2020. Those cities may just include Sacramento, Charlotte or another city in North Carolina, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Detroit. Obviously this is a short (although some may think of it as long) list of possible expansion cities and one that does not include Miami, but regardless, Major League Soccer has the intrigue and vision for many forward-thinking cities filled with people that have a love of soccer.

And certainly what has been found is that the Twin Cities area, the history of soccer in Minnesota and Minnesota United FC have combined to show what a great soccer location is like in the US.

Katherine RUPP

Nationality:
USA
College:
Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.
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