Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that Minnesota has been awarded an expansion team that will begin play in 2018. The new club will be owned by a Minnesota ownership group led by Dr. Bill McGuire, and the team will play in a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
“We are proud to welcome Minnesota to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a league statement. “The ownership group’s commitment to soccer and the community, the area’s growing millennial population and the region’s rich tradition of supporting soccer at all levels in Minnesota were key indicators that this was the right market. The passionate soccer fans in Minnesota will soon have a world-class, downtown soccer stadium that will serve as the home for the new MLS team and become a destination for marquee international sports events.”
McGuire, owner of Minnesota United FC of the North American Soccer League, will be joined in the ownership group by a group of investors that is still being finalized but that wil linclude Robert Pohlad, Jim Pohlad, Wendy Carlson Nelson and Glen Taylor. McGuire, a physician, philanthropist and former CEO of UnitedHealth Group, has been actively involved in the Minnesota soccer community since purchasing the Minnesota Stars (now United) in November 2012.
Great news for Minnesota soccer fans and also great news for American soccer fans in general. From what I have seen Minnesota United FC has a passionate fan base and very committed ownership. They seem to understand the landscape of American soccer and it is clear that they have developed a knack for developing and discovering talent as illustrated by Miguel Ibarra being called up to the USMNT. MLS’s Miami decision is looking more suspect by the day but at least they knocked this selection out of the park. Based upon the success of Minnesota United’s bid it will be hard for MLS to stop expanding because there are plenty of NASL teams that have proven themselves worthy of being the next MLS franchise. Hopefully, MLS continues to expand because there are many more “Minnesota United’s” out there and their fans deserve to be supporting a team in American soccer’s first division.