During today’s 2014 MLS Season Kick Q&A w/ Commissioner Don Garber, the commissioner said Minneapolis is on the short list for MLS expansion (start at 16:40.) He also mentioned by name that there has been a high level of activity with Minnesota United FC.
In Garber’s words, MN United are a strong, passionate group that are very embedded in the community. They are smart, focused, and great community citizens that really care about their city. They are asking how a MLS team can really enhance the city (similar to what happened in KC).
This is the strongest indication yet that we’re on our way to MLS. Hold on, it’s going to get good.
In the biggest expansion news to date, MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed more details about expansion into the Twin Cities, where apparently the league has had talks with a potential ownership group.
“That opportunity is one that we’re excited about as we believe we need more teams in the Midwest,” the Commissioner said. “I think if Minneapolis as a market that can continue to show the support that they’ve had for the NASL club [Minnesota United FC] and if they continue to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities, there’s a real opportunity there.”
Something that stood out for me is this sentence “if they continue to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities.” This doesn’t seem to be referencing the new Vikings Stadium that is being built. He doesn’t seem to be talking about the Wilf’s, though the Vikings still say they are interested in a MLS team.
Remember, the criteria for expansion (unless you’re David Beckham) is the following:
· Committed and engaged ownership;
· A comprehensive stadium plan;
· Demonstrated fan support for professional soccer in the market;
· Support from sponsors, television partners and other constituents;
· Geographic location;
· A strategic business plan for the launch and successful operation of the club.
For myself, the main takeaway from this news is we’re close but we’re not there yet. We, as the supporters of this movement, are responsible for one of the most important factors in making a future MLS franchise a success: getting people to support MN United. Garber called it out specifically in the above article: “I think if Minneapolis as a market that can continue to show the support that they’ve had for the NASL club [Minnesota United FC]…there’s a real opportunity there.”
Buy your season tickets to support MN United if you want to see MLS come to Minnesota.