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Minnesota awarded MLS expansion franchise – SportsUntapped.com
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Added March 30th, 2015 by Ian

Minnesota awarded MLS expansion franchise
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North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) announced on March 26 that it will be expanding to Minnesota for the 2018 season. The franchise is owned by a local ownership consortium which is headed by Dr. Bill McGuire and the club will play out of a new soccer stadium which will be located in downtown Minneapolis. Don Garber, the commissioner of MLS, said he’s happy to have Minnesota join the league since the ownership group is committed to both the community and the sport of soccer. He added that Minnesota’s growing population has a rich tradition of supporting all levels of soccer and he believes it’s an excellent market for a new team.

McGuire is already the current owner of Minnesota United FC, a club which plays in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He’s a well-known philanthropist and physician and is the former CEO of the UnitedHealth Group. McGuire bought the Minnesota Stars back in November of 2012 and later changed the club’s name to United. The head of the ownership group thanked Garber and the other team owners for helping bring MLS to Minnesota and said it’s something thousands of soccer fans have been waiting for.

MLS is hoping to be a 24-team league by the year 2020 and Garber stated that they may even add more expansion franchises after that. Soccer has always drawn well in the northern state as the Minnesota Kicks of the NASL used to regularly attract 40,000 gates to their games. The Minnesota Thunder was also a popular minor league outfit in the 1990s and 2000s. Minnesota United had the best record in the NASL last season and was awarded the Woosnam Cup because of it and there are over 70,000 youth players registered in the state.

One of the reasons Minnesota was awarded a franchise is the fact that a new outdoor stadium will be built to house the team. The ground will be located in the downtown area and will be easily accessed by public transportation. The venue is supposed to be built to the west of Target Field in the Farmers Market neighborhood, which is right across from Interstate 94. The franchise hopes to have all of the stadium plans completed by the first of July. The club announced that current Minnesota United season ticket holders and fans who buy season tickets this year will have the first crack at tickets for the new team, which is yet to be named.

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