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Minnesota United to begin MLS play in 2018



Five years after beginning play in the second division of U.S. Soccer, Minnesota United is officially MLS-bound.

MLS announced Wednesday that Minnesota has been awarded the league’s 23rd franchise and will begin MLS play in 2018. Minnesota now joins Los Angeles and Atlanta as expansion franchises set to enter MLS in the coming years.

“We are proud to welcome Minnesota to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a 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.” 

A major factor in Minnesota’s selection comes via the club’s proposal to build a centrally located outdoor stadium. The current  proposal, which is set to be finalized on July 1, would see a stadium built in The Farmers Market area of Minneapolis near Target Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.

The team’s ownership group, which is still being finalized, is led by Dr. Bill McGuire, who is joined by investors Robert Pohlad, Jim Pohlad, Wendy Carlson Nelson and Glen Taylor.

“I want to thank MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league’s owners for helping us bring Major League Soccer to Minnesota,” said McGuire. “As a group of Minnesotans who love this state and have made a commitment to bring this vision to life, this is a momentous day that we’ve all been waiting for.”

The team’s current iteration began play in 2010 following the demise of the Minnesota Thunder and has featured in the NASL since 2011, winning the league’s championship in the inaugural season.

What do you think of MLS’ decision to expand into Minnesota? What do you expect from the team when it enters MLS play in 2018?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. You know what this means? 2018, Miami’s coming w/ Ronaldo in tow. Minnesota United is good to go, no reason to wait 4 seasons instead of 3 to add them, unless trying to balance the numbers. Two teams in 2017, two in 2018. This way, Miami can get their stadium built by 2018 and kick off with Ronaldo in the MLS.

  2. Wow..2018??!! Sacramento is ready 2016….this tells me that if Sacramento gets in, they won’t play til after 2020….LAFC and ATL are in, Miami will be in..and these teams are nowhere close to being ready..i don’t understand…Sacramento should just move on and let MLS come crawling after they fail with these teams..

    • Sac will get in regardless of Miami situation- as you are probably aware but to recap-
      Fanbase proven
      existing team
      political support
      ownership/investors lined up- 49ers/Kings
      ready to break ground on SSS
      built in regional rivalry w/ SJ
      $100m minimum franchise fee vs. only $25m from Miami
      25 will create an imbalance but that can be overcome, it always is…
      no-one else can get a stadium as fast, not even Minn or maybe even DC

  3. Attendance figures per

    Sacramento Republic FC: 11,293

    # Minnesota United FC’s fall season average without its August 2 doubleheader is 6,133.

    • Cool story bro. Minnesota United play outside of the city in a crappy little stadium. Pretty impressive attendance all things considered.

  4. I like MLS has chosen Minnesota but their name is so MLS 1.0
    How about Minnesota warriors. Pick something that goes with their crazy winters and ice fishing and their winter animals.
    If they want united, then make it Minneapolis st.paul united but too cheesy still.
    The second team name united in MLS should be red bull when they are bought and rebranded to empire united.

  5. I’m a bit confused after reading the sbi article on this yesterday. Isn’t Bakk in the pocket of the nfl version of this club? Clue phone please.

  6. Cosmos keep breaking my heart why can’t they get over NASL and buy out red bull.
    Why why why why why just get over NASL and talk to garber.
    More than likely Miami will the 24th team and the race to 26,28,30 teams will be amazing hot.
    Probable expansion teams after 24=
    San Antonio but Austin might be their worst nightmare.
    Tampa bay
    Ny3 or cosmos come back.

    • Sac is a lock in the next couple of months regardless of Miami, they are miles ahead of everyone else, all the ducks in a row-
      sss- ready to break ground
      political support
      ownership/inverstors- 49ers and Kings on-board
      existing team Sac Republic
      $100m franchise fee vs. $25m from Beckham
      ready-to-go regional rivalry with SJ

  7. Is land “adjacent” to the Farmers Market really that difficult to grasp? How many defiantly ignorant people are going to type away about how people love the Farmers Market and won’t put up with a new stadium? New stadium: In tandem with Farmers Market, in addition to Farmers Market, not INSTEAD of Farmers Market.

    This just in: McGuire not a saint. No shite. With that said, no McGuire, no professional soccer in Minnesota, much less MLS.

  8. Not quite true about wilf and the twins. Wilf has only owned the vikings since he only owned the vikings for 10 years.

    Zigi would probably fight hard to encourage his friends in the legislature to deny tax breaks to a rival ownership group but I don’t think it will continue now that MLS has basically declared the rival bid the winner. Also given the relative low cost of a Soccer stadium and only needing tax exemptions (instead of majority funding) I think this gets done pretty easily.

    • they’ll lose a vote. any political support will be used against the politician. McGuire will need to pay unless some shady business happens. Which it probably will…

    • 1) the politicians are FOS
      2) what aholes

      If the investment group are smart they find a willing land developer to partner up with.

      • there’s quite a few citizens who don’t want the stadium. The farmers market is well loved. NOBODY here wants public funding to the wallet of McGuire- including this die hard MLS follower from day one of the league. Add to that the reputation of McGuire is tainted at best in the area. It seems the only bullish voices are the Dark CLouds and their ilk who seem like the only way they won’t feel insecure about their team is if they’re in MLS.

      • The framers market is not going anywhere as far as I am aware and it actually might get expanded as a part of this project. The article says “Farmers Market area”. Not sure how familiar you are with the North Loop, but there is industrial space just to the east of the FM and i believe this is where the stadium will be built. Have a look at the graphic on the link below…

    • any truth to the rumor that they will lose their expansion spot if they don’t reach a stadium agreement by this summer?

      i bet that they end up in the Vikings Stadium. I hate turf but its not the worst field to play in.. esp up North. I have strong doubts that this team will be playing in a SSS anytime soon.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I love the crest and the jersey with the loon on it.
        But, it was my understanding that the clubs that moved to MLS had to change their logo since it becomes the property of MLS. All of the clubs that moved up (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, Orlando) altered their logo before debuting in the league.

      • I look for them to create a new one but to try to capture the essence of the current really awesome one, a la Portland and Orlando. Seattle, Vancouver, and Montreal’s 2nd division crests were stupid…I still have a USL Sounders shirt with the orca whale bouncing a soccer ball off it’s nose and it’s a little nostalgic for me in a tech boom/grunge kind of way.

  9. I think choosing United over the Soccer Vikings is further proof MLS has no desire to change its calendar to match with Europe. Northern teams with an indoor option was the only way even a German/Russian style schedule with January off would have worked. Minnesotans are hardy, but I don’t see too many home games in March in their future. I would like to see USMNT vs Costa Rica in January though.

    • Never going to happen. Was at RBNY v DC this weekend and it was miserable even though it was maybe high 30s. In Jan/Feb you are talking 10-20 degrees colder with snow. No thank you. There’s nothing wrong with the MLS calendar except for the refusal to acknowledge FIFA windows.

  10. Yeah–the name “United” is already taken in MLS. I know they want to continue using the name they play with now but I think to stay with “United” in MLS is just going to get them responses and PR they’re not interested in….”MinU” or the “wrong United” or copycats. And in some ways that’s a shame b/c you’ve got Minneapolis and St. Paul so the name “united” has a certain fit plus it’s what they’re playing with now. Frankly, I’d like to see them rejuvenate “Kicks”. Not a great name in isolation but it has meaningful heritage when it comes to pro soccer and Minnesota.

    • Yeah, hated that name back in NASL 1.0 days, but it would be a good choice. There are many good choices though.

    • I personally don’t have a problem with them using Minnesota United, as that brand has already been established. The name Kicks sounds like MLS 1.0 – PLEASE don’t go down that road.

      • Does the Sounders, Whitecaps and Timbers ?

        Also the brand has been established. For what two years now ?

        United, City, or just straigh FC are boring. Extremely boring.
        Get something good, don’t just cop out, because it is difficult.

      • No, Sounders, Whitecaps and Timbers do not sound like that, but the name Kicks is lot closer in feel to Burn, Wiz and Clash, for sure.

      • Exactly. We’ve come a long way from the days of US soccer names like the Blast, the Crunch, the Kixx, the Impact (wait…). There may be dozens (even hundreds!) of people nostalgic for the old names. Meanwhile there are thousands who would find the name ‘Kicks’ to be unbelievably corny.

    • The problem is, if they stick with it, they will inevitably be tagged “Mini U”.

      It’s coming already. If someone hasn’t done so yet, I may go trademark it myself. 😉

    • There are two “City” teams in the league now (not counting SKC), so I think that it would be OK to have two “United” teams.

      • That’s actually a great point! I love the name Minnesota United, especially with Minneapolis and St. Paul being the twin cities.

  11. Anyone else think that maybe one of the reasons Minnesota is getting pushed ahead of some of the other candidates is because it removes them from NASL?

    One of the best teams in NASL gets taken away…

    • Honestly, I don’t think that the MLS cares enough about the NASL to base expansion decisions on what that league does. They most likely view them as very little more than a pest with a big mouth and nothing much to back up the fight talk.

      Now do I think that it’s an added “bonus”, that MNU happens to be a flagship franchise in the NASL?!?!

      Let’s just say that the grin was probably just a little bit wider when the deal got done it was NOT a driving factor in the negotiations.

    • You could argue that NASL is doing MLS a favor.

      It develops under served markets for them and then, if they are successful, they get assimilated by the Borg.

      The ABA did something vaguely similar with the NBA.

    • the talk has been more about the regionality, the fan-base, the ownership group having a soccer-first focus, and of course the viability/probability of a sss. If direct competition w/ NASL was the focus Cosmos over Man City’s NYCFC would have seemed to made more sense….

  12. The only bummer is that Farmer’s Market is awesome. I’d hate to see it go. It’s been there forever.

    I hope they work a way to bring Tony Sanneh into the mix – arguably best Minnesota native to play the game.

    • “would see a stadium built in The Farmers Market area” I think the land they have an option to buy is adjacent to the Farmers Market.

    • arguably? i can’t think of anyone else better than Tony Sanneh!

      bummer about the market; im sure it will be revived somewhere else.. i wonder if the stadium will be called Target Stadium, you know just to make it really confusing around there and provide no doubt who runs that town.

      only other downside is another great Nike jersey and NASL logo will go the way of an addidas mls re-brand.

      other than that; should be a welcome addition to the league and a big geographic/business victory for MLS!

      • And a wallet-fattening deal for Bill McGuire who is going to figure out a way to finagle millions of dollars for his stadium. And after all those hundreds of millions of dollars he unscrupulously got from UHC.

      • You know who else has billions? Zygi Wilf, and I don’t think he’s going to be too happy about losing out on his plan to put an MLS club in his football stadium.

      • No, not bitter. Just ethical. And still wondering why so many Dark Clouds are gangbusters over Bill when he has been so unscrupulous in the past (No, the Wilfs don’t get a pass) with people’s health and welfare. I’m a nurse. I care about this sh’t. Is that bitterness? Look up his history. Dig little into the UHC while he was in charge. If none of it bothers you then I have no doubt that your priorities are as skewed.
        Bitter… please, I’m just not into kissing the kings rings.

      • McGuire poured millions into the Thunder and will now be investing north of $100 million in MLS.

        I find it bizarre some are hung up on his old day job. Given your “I’m a nurse” comment I’d bet your beef is labor related from his UHC time.

        Give up the old issues and celebrate D1 soccer returning to MSP, friend.

  13. Thankfully, I don’t think they’ll be “United”. The press release is carefully worded to say that Minnesota has been awarded, and not Minnesota United.


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