Minnesota has an enduring—but complicated—history with soccer, with teams like the Kicks, Stars, Strikers, and Thunder rising up and fading away. But as these teams have come and gone, the state’s fans and amateur players never let the dream of pro soccer in Minnesota die. It’s these believers who effectively paved the way for the state’s first Major League Soccer team to plant its flag: Minnesota United FC played its first MLS season this past year, and is moving into its very own stadium in 2019.
People are hungrier for soccer than ever before, and with a robust amateur scene to complement our new MLS team, there are plenty of options for fans. Head to any Minneapolis City SC game at Augsburg’s Edor Nelson Field or Med City FC in Rochester and you’ll see stands packed with fans as loyal as they come.
Being a truly international sport, soccer is inclusive to Minnesotans of all different backgrounds and ethnicities in a way that the other major sports are not. With amateur teams like St. Paul’s all-Latino Viejos Son Los Trapos FC, who play in the National Premier Soccer League, players like Ghanaian player Abu Danladi on Minnesota United, and even the annual Hmong Freedom Celebration soccer tournament at Como Park, fans and players across cultures are coming together to back the sport they love.
And with the construction of Minnesota United’s very own Allianz Field in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, which is situated at the intersection of several cultural hubs, professional soccer has never been more accessible for those in the city, from new fans to die-hard kids with dreams of going pro.
In an age where it seems many fans of the biggest American sports are becoming jaded in the face of frustrating league politics, soccer has taken hold as the nation’s new up-and-coming sport. With the arrival of Minnesota United FC to the MLS and the team’s new stadium, it’s safe to say that the “world’s sport” finally has a cemented presence in Minnesota.
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