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Kicking It With Minnesota United Soccer Team

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The professional soccer season is about to fire up in Minnesota, as the Minnesota United is opening its season this Saturday.

Minnesota’s pro soccer team will be back on their home field for what already looks like a promising season.

“The strides we’ve made in the last year are huge. Obviously, we started the season off great this year, and we have a lot of exciting things going on,” team captain Aaron Pitchkolan said. “We have a new practice facility in Woodbury and playing our games in Blaine. So we have a far-reaching view across the Twin Cities.”

Coach Manny Lagos has lead the team through a solid preseason, two wins and no losses heading into Saturday’s home opener.

“There’s a different kind of pressure, and a tough pressure to win at home. So we have a lot of pride in the team that we want to do well at home. This game is hopefully going to set the tone,” Lagos said.

In a 50-year evolution, Minnesota’s first pro team was called the Kicks. In the ’90s they became the Thunder, then the Stars, and then were reborn as the Minnesota United last year. The vision of the club is now fully realized on the field and for the fans and community.

“We are really excited now from all of the hard work we have done on the field,” Lagos said. “I know our front office over the past couple years has put in a ton of work off the field to get us to this point we are now. It’s going to be nice to have that come public Saturday.”

On the field, the games are fast-moving, but not as moving as the connections these role models make with fans off the field.

“They really care not just about themselves but about their team, and how they we about their business. They really care about this community. We’ve really tried to sign and bring guys into the community that contribute and want to be a part of it,” Lagos said. “Ultimately they are taking care of each other, which is part of being a team.”

The Minnesota United open their season versus Edmonton at 7 p.m. Saturday at the National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine.

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