MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s only professional soccer team — Minnesota United — is flying high.
“We’re really excited to join the Lynx as a professional team in this market that’s out there winning championships,” said Minnesota United President Nick Rogers.
Fresh off winning the spring championship, Minnesota United has plans to expand soccer’s footprint in Minnesota.
“I think a soccer-specific stadium probably is in Minnesota’s future at some point,” Rogers said.
Minnesota United owner Bill Maguire and Twins owner Jim Pohlad twice visited Kansas City Sporting KC soccer franchise for ideas on a 20,000-seat outdoor soccer-specific stadium.
Possible locations include the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market, which sits in the shadow of Target Field.
But the Vikings stadium bill gives team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf five-year exclusive rights to establish major league soccer inside the stadium.
And Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the Vikings are working hard to win a franchise.
“We’ve met with a couple of MLS teams and their fans and their front office in Seattle and Kansas City and we have more planned,” Bagley said. “We have an ongoing dialogue with the leadership of the MLS.”
As the World Cup unfolds, Minnesota United is setting up “hot spots” and watching parties around the city as part of its “Summer of Soccer.”
“We’re trying to reach everybody out there and say this is a great game, with some of the world’s best athletes and its right here in your hometown,” Rogers said. “It’s a great thing.”
There’s no timeline on when Major League Soccer will make a decision on a Minnesota soccer franchise. But with some really big strikers in the mix, there’s real competition for that last spot.
Any public funding of a new soccer-specific stadium would be controversial. And on the other hand, the indoor Vikings stadium presents other challenges, including the size.