Minnesota United FC

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Minnesota United FC
Full name Minnesota United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Loons, United[1]
Founded 2010
Stadium National Sports Center,
Ground Capacity 12,000
Owner Bill McGuire
Head Coach Manny Lagos
League North American Soccer League
2013 (NASL) Spring: Sixth
Fall: Fourth
Website Club home page
Current season

Minnesota United FC is an American professional soccer team based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area in Minnesota. Founded in 2010, the team plays in the North American Soccer League (NASL), a professional league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. The team won the 2011 NASL championship.

The team have historically played their home games at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota, 18 miles north of Minneapolis. The team's colors are sky blue, grey, and black with a red accent. Their current head coach is Manny Lagos.


The National Sports Center began considering fielding a Division 2 men's professional soccer team in December 2009. The then current team, the Minnesota Thunder, were tenants of the National Sports Center and were struggling through financial difficulties.[2] In January 2010, the National Sports Center announced they would field a new team to replace the Minnesota Thunder. The Thunder at the time were not officially folded but were facing financial ruin.[3] Following a team-naming contest, the National Sports Center (NSC) announced the official team name would be NSC Minnesota, with the team nickname being Stars on February 5, 2010.[4]

The team played its first official game on April 11, 2010, a 2–0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.[5][6] The first goal in franchise history was scored by Daniel Wasson in their next game, a 1–0 victory over the Carolina RailHawks.[7] The Stars enjoyed some impressive victories in their debut season, including a 3–1 win over Crystal Palace Baltimore, a 3–0 win over AC St. Louis, and a 3–1 win over FC Tampa Bay, eventually finishing fourth in their conference. Unfortunately for the Stars, they went out of the playoffs at the quarter final stage, 4–0 on aggregate to the Carolina RailHawks,[8] after defender Andres Arango was issued a red card after just 38 minutes. Simone Bracalello and Brian Cvilikas were the Stars' top scorers in 2010, with 5 goals each. The team averaged an attendance of 1,374 which was 10th out of the 12 league teams.[9]

The Stars announced that for the 2011 season the team would no longer be owned by the National Sports Center but by the North American Soccer League. U.S. Soccer Federation created ownership standards where the owner must have a net worth of at least $20 million and the National Sports Center did not meet that criteria.[10][11] The NASL committed to owning the team for three years.[9] The team set a budget of $2 million based on the goal of average 1,000 fans per game.[12] By June 5 the team was in second place[13] but a four game losing streak as part of a 0–6–1 stretch sent the team in a slump before finishing with the sixth and final playoff spot.[14][15] The Stars knocked off the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1–0 in the quarterfinals before defeating the first seed Carolina Railhawks on penalty kicks after the two legged series ended 4–4. A 3–1 home victory was enough to win the NASL championship after the second leg ended in 0–0 draw.[16] The team averaged around 1,700 fans during the season but drew 2,500 for the playoff semifinals[17] and 4,511 for the final home leg.[18]

On January 9, 2012 the club announced a new logo as well as a new name. The NSC portion of the name, which had led to confusion, was dropped with the new name being the Minnesota Stars FC. The new logo was revealed with the word 'NSC' removed and the state motto, L’Étoile du Nord, added.[19][20] The team continued a search for a new owner in the offseason [21][22][23] and opened the 2012 season with a 0–0 draw against the Carolina Railhawks at the Metrodome in front of a crowd of 8,693.[24]

On November 9, 2012 the league officially announced that the team was purchased by Bill McGuire.[25] On March 5, 2013, that was followed up by the team rebranding, with the name Minnesota United FC.[26]

Colors and badge[edit]

Club's original crest, under the name NSC Minnesota Stars (2010-2011).
Club's crest as Minnesota Stars FC (2012).

As the Stars, the team's official colors were blue and gold, following the tradition established the Minnesota Thunder of Minnesota soccer teams wearing predominantly blue as their home color. Before 2012, the club logo was a shield in two-tone blue and gold, with a stylized star overlaid by the NSC Minnesota wordmark. A new logo was unveiled in January 2012. The logo was designed over a six-month period by a member of the clubs supporter group. The word 'NSC' removed and the state motto, L’Étoile du Nord, added along with a soccer ball behind the prominent star.[19][20]

As Minnesota United, the new logo features a stylized loon, which is the state bird of Minnesota, with eleven spread feathers. The rebranded team's colors were changed to sky blue, grey, and black, with a red accent.[26]


National Sports Center

United plays their home games in the 7,000-seat stadium at the National Sports Center, a 600-acre (2.4 km²) multi-sport complex located in Blaine, Minnesota, which in addition to the soccer stadium, features over 50 full-sized soccer fields, a golf course, a velodrome, a meeting and convention facility, and an eight-sheet ice rink, the Schwan Super Rink.

The Minnesota Thunder also played at the NSC prior to the 2010 season.

The team played their home games for the 2013 Spring Season at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Downtown Minneapolis. In the past, they have held their season openers there.

Reserve Squad[edit]

In November 2013, the club announced they would form a new reserve squad, Minnesota United Reserves, who will begin play in the National Premier Soccer League in 2014 at the Bielenberg Sports Complex[27] and will be coached by Donny Mark.[28] The club became the second NASL team to announce they would field a reserve squad in the NPSL after the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Club culture[edit]


During the course of the 2011 NASL season a rivalry was formed between the then Stars and FC Edmonton known as the Flyover Cup. The name was chosen for Edmonton and Minnesota lying in flight paths for transcontinental flights, but often passed over by tourists. The symbol of the cup is a loon, being an unofficial national bird of Canada and also the state bird of Minnesota.[29]


As with all the teams in the NASL, United hosts webcasts of all their home matches. Chris Lidholm handles the play by play along with Buzz Lagos on color and Lindsay Guentzel as the sideline reporter. The webcasts are free and streamed live via Ustream on the official Minnesota United web page. For the 2014 season it has been announced that all home games will be broadcast on KSTC-TV Channel 45.

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

as of June 8, 2014[30]

No. Position Player Nation
0 Midfielder Franks, FloydFloyd Franks      United States
1 Goalkeeper Hildebrandt, MitchMitch Hildebrandt      United States
2 Defender Davis, JustinJustin Davis      United States
3 Defender Dias, CristianoCristiano Dias      Brazil
4 Midfielder Pitchkolan, AaronAaron Pitchkolan      United States
5 Defender Calvano, TiagoTiago Calvano      Brazil
6 Midfielder Gyorio, MozziMozzi Gyorio      Canada
7 Forward Bracalello, SimoneSimone Bracalello      Italy
8 Midfielder Reed, MichaelMichael Reed      United States
9 Forward Campos, PabloPablo Campos      Brazil
10 Midfielder Ibarra, MiguelMiguel Ibarra      United States
12 Midfielder Watson, JamieJamie Watson      United States
13 Midfielder Takada, KentaroKentaro Takada      Japan
14 Defender Kallman, BrianBrian Kallman      United States
16 Defender Polak, TylerTyler Polak      United States
17 Midfielder Daley, OmarOmar Daley      Jamaica
18 Forward Mendes, DanielDaniel Mendes (on loan from Kalmar FF)     Brazil
20 Forward Pridham, MackenzieMackenzie Pridham      Canada
21 Forward Ramirez, ChristianChristian Ramirez      United States
22 Defender Venegas, KevinKevin Venegas      United States
23 Midfielder Jordan, GregGreg Jordan      United States
24 Goalkeeper Fontein, AndrewAndrew Fontein      United States
25 Forward Polak, NateNate Polak      United States
27 Defender Kallman, BrentBrent Kallman      United States
30 Goalkeeper Van Oekel, MattMatt Van Oekel      United States
77 Midfielder Vicentini, JulianoJuliano Vicentini      Brazil


  • United States Nick Rogers – President
  • United States Manny LagosTechnical Director and Head Coach
  • England Carl Craig – Assistant Coach
  • England Paul O'Connor – Goalkeeping Coach
  • United States Donny Mark – Reserves Team Coach
  • United States Dr. Corey Wulf – Team Doctor
  • United States Dr. Brad Moser - Team Doctor
  • United States Yoshiyuki Ono – Team Athletic Trainer
  • United States David Bloomquist – Reserves Athletic Trainer

Head coaches[edit]



Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs Open Cup Avg. Attendance
2010 2 USSF D-2 Pro League 4th, USL (7th) Quarterfinals 2nd Round 1,374[9][32]
2011 2 NASL 6th Champions Denied entry 1,676[23][33]
2012 2 NASL 6th Finals 4th Round 2,651
2013 2 NASL Spring: 6th
Fall: 4th
Did not qualify 2nd Round 4,445
2014 2 NASL Spring: 1st
Fall: TBD
TBD 4th Round 5,577


  1. ^ Marthaler, Jon. "New name, logo for pro soccer: "Minnesota United FC"". StarTribune.com. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ From news services (November 11, 2009) "NSC plans don't include Thunder" Saint Paul Pioneer Press
  3. ^ Leighton, Tim (January 8, 2010) "Soccer – New team will replace Thunder" Saint Paul Pioneer Press
  4. ^ Quarstad, Brian. "NSC Minnesota is Name of New Pro Soccer Team – Logo Unveiled | IMS Soccer News". Insidemnsoccer.com. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ "USSF Division-2 Pro League". Ussf.demosphere.com. April 11, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ LA VAQUE, DAVID (April 25, 2010) "Stars launch franchise with a win – The team, the successor to the Thunder, scored its first goal on a penalty kick and made it hold up." Star Tribune
  7. ^ "USSF Division-2 Pro League". Ussf.demosphere.com. April 16, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ "USSF Division-2 Pro League". Ussf.demosphere.com. October 9, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c La Vaque, David (April 29, 2011). "Stars' stability to benefit team on, off the pitch – A three-year ownership commitment from the NASL will allow the club to focus on winning and marketing.". Star Tribune. 
  10. ^ La Vaque, David (January 6, 2011). "NSC Minnesota Stars to kick off with new owner: Their league". Star Tribune. 
  11. ^ Leighton, Tim (January 6, 2011). "Soccer trying again – New league and ownership group for local pro team". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. 
  12. ^ Leighton, Tim (April 30, 2011). "A lasting shining star? – State's pro soccer team more stable financially, eager to win back fans". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. 
  13. ^ From news services (June 5, 2011). "usted Tressel promises win over Michigan". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. 
  14. ^ Staff reports (September 7, 2011). "Stars' losing streak reaches four in a row". Star Tribune. 
  15. ^ La Vaqu, David (October 1, 2011). "Soccer veterans see reward for refusing to change course – Little-used Stars Brian Kallman and Brian Cvilikas stayed the course rather than walk away, and later made their mark on a playoff team.". Star Tribune. 
  16. ^ "2011 Schedule". North American Soccer League. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ Leighton, Tim (October 22, 2011). "Stars seek owner as well as a title". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. 
  18. ^ Augustoviz, Roman (October 23, 2011). "Stars seize early edge in finals – Three goals provided the home team a good start in the total-goal NASL championship series with Fort Lauderdale.". Star Tribune. 
  19. ^ a b Quarstad, Brian (January 10, 2012). "Minnesota Stars Get New Name and Logo: Minnesota Stars FC". Inside Minnesota Soccer. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "NSC MINNESOTA STARS ARE NOW MINNESOTA STARS FC". Minnesota Stars FC. January 9, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  21. ^ Leighton, Tim (April 6, 2012). "Minnesota Stars could envision move up to MLS". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  22. ^ Vomhof Jr., John (April 6, 2012). "For sale: Twin Cities pro soccer team". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b La Vaque, David (April 6, 2012). "Minnesota Stars face bigger challenge: Winning new fans, owner". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  24. ^ La Vaque, David (April 8, 2012). "Champion Stars stymied in scoreless season soccer opener". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ Quarstad, Brian (November 9, 2012). "A Day for Minnesota Soccer Fans to Celebrate". Insidemnsoccer.com. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Minnesota Stars FC Rebrands As Minnesota United FC | North American Soccer League". Nasl.com. March 5, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Minnesota United Fc Announces Reserve Team". National Premier Soccer League. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Minnesota United Names Donny Mark as Reserve Team Coach". MN United FC. January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Flyover Cup on the Line Saturday Night when Edmonton faces Minnesota". Boxscorenews.com. July 15, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Minnesota United FC Roster". mnunitedfc.com. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  31. ^ "National Sports Center News/Information". Nscsports.org. February 10, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  32. ^ Tomasch, Kenn (October 5, 2010). "Taking Attendance: The Final Chapter". Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  33. ^ Tomasch, Kenn (October 31, 2011). "Taking Attendance: The Final Chapter". Retrieved April 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]