Has Minnesota’s MLS Team Found a Home?
Back in late-March, Major League Soccer came to Minneapolis to announce that it was awarding an MLS franchise to Minnesota. All indications are that Minnesota United FC will move from the North American Soccer League to Major League Soccer beginning with the 2018 season. The franchise was awarded to an ownership group led by current Minnesota United owner, Dr. Bill McGuire, and a host of other wealthy business people in the state.
However, as the announcement was being made, there were already concerns as to where the MLS team would play its home games. Their initial interest was to build a stadium in downtown Minneapolis near the site of the farmer's market. Unfortunately, local and state legislators haven't seem open to that idea.
As a result, it seems as if a new location has now risen to the forefront in stadium discussions. On their team website today, Minnesota United announced that it had received positive news from St. Paul. A statement from team president Nick Rogers states:
"We are pleased to see continued support for bringing Major League Soccer to Minnesota. Today’s unanimous vote by the St. Paul City Council is a positive endorsement of our project and we look forward to continuing discussions about locating an MLS soccer stadium on the Midway site."
The St. Paul City Council recently voted 7-0 in support of a soccer-specific stadium to be developed at the old bus barn location in the Midway area of St. Paul. Will this end up being the spot that the new MLS team calls home? Nothing is assured yet, but this is certainly the most positive sign so far in regard to one of the major issues associated with the new team.
The team had missed an MLS deadline of July 24 to finalize a stadium site, but MLS hadn't taken away franchise rights from McGuire and his investor group yet. Now, they may not have to. Here's hoping that this St. Paul site becomes a viable stadium option and we can welcome our MLS franchise into the league at the Midway in 2018.