Major League Soccer has announced that Minnesota has been awarded an expansion team that will begin play in 2018. The new team will be owned by a Minnesota group led by Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire and will play in a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
“We are proud to welcome Minnesota to Major League Soccer,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “The ownership group’s commitment to soccer and the community, the area’s growing millennial population and the region’s rich tradition of supporting soccer at all levels in Minnesota were key indicators that this was the right market. The passionate soccer fans in Minnesota will soon have a world-class, downtown soccer stadium that will serve as the home for the new MLS team and become a destination for marquee international sports events.”
Led by McGuire, the new MLS team’s ownership group is still being finalized and will be comprised of Minnesota investors including Robert Pohlad, Jim Pohlad, Wendy Carlson Nelson and Glen Taylor. McGuire, a physician, philanthropist and former CEO of UnitedHealth Group, has been actively involved in the Minnesota soccer community since purchasing the NASL’s Minnesota Stars (now United) in November 2012.
“I want to thank MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league’s owners for helping us bring Major League Soccer to Minnesota,” said McGuire. “As a group of Minnesotans who love this state and have made a commitment to bring this vision to life, this is a momentous day that we’ve all been waiting for.”
A key element of the new club’s bid was the proposal to build an outdoor stadium that is centrally located in the community and accessible through public transportation. The proposed stadium would be located in the Farmers Market neighborhood on the western sides of Target Field and immediately adjacent to Interstate 94. The club is working to finalize the plan for the new stadium by July 1.
With the addition of the new MLS team in Minnesota, 13 clubs have joined MLS since 2005. The Minnesota team will become the league’s 23rd team when it begins play.