MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  Allianz Field will be the site of next year’s Major League Soccer All-Star Game, officials announced Tuesday, marking a win for the soccer community in the Twin Cities.

The game, scheduled for next August, will be the first time the state hosted a MLS All-Star Game. That Minnesota gets the opportunity is a testament to the fans and the club’s growth since it became part of the league, said MLS commissioner Don Garber.

He said that Minnesota United was “not just awarded” but “earned” the game at its stadium.

“This is what Major League Soccer is meant to be,” Garber said. “The soccer nation lives right here. I can’t wait to see what that’s going to look like next August.”

The 26th edition of the match-up between the MLS and another league will be a week-long event that includes community outreach, concerts and parties to celebrate the game. Minnesota United Head Coach Adrian Heath will lead the MLS All-Stars.

“What we’ve done on and off the field since we’ve been here–I think it’s just award for everybody’s time and effort over the last few years,” he said.

The announcement is welcomed news for local officials and businesses as the global event is poised to draw thousands to Minnesota. This comes at a time when the local economy, like so many places, is recovering after being battered by the pandemic.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter called it an “important victory” for Minnesota’s capital city and the greater Twin Cities region.

“This team brings so much more than just a game to our community,” he said.

The Minneapolis Regional Chamber said economic impact is harder to estimate during a pandemic, but said the event is a “big deal” for Minneapolis and St. Paul, especially given the context of the last year and a half with COVID-19.

“The opportunity to showcase our cities to the world in this moment, I would tell you probably exceeds any direct economic benefit that we’re going to do from hotel rooms and restaurants and all of the other auxiliary benefits that we will see,” said Jonathan Weinhagen, CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. Women’s National Team will also play at Allianz later this month. The MLS All-Star Game is the eighth time the state has hosted a pro-sports All-Star game.

Caroline Cummings