Minnesota United FC
|Full name||Minnesota United Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Loons, United|
|Stadium||National Sports Center
Blaine, Minnesota & Metrodome
(capacity: 12,000 & 64,121)
|Head Coach||Manny Lagos|
|League||North American Soccer League|
|2012 (NASL)||Regular Season: 6th,
|Website||Club home page|
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, roughly 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. 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. 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.
The team played its first official game on April 11, 2010, a 2–0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The first goal in franchise history was scored by Daniel Wasson in their next game, a 1–0 victory over the Carolina RailHawks. 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, 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.
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. The NASL committed to owning the team for three years. The team set a budget of $2 million based on the goal of average 1,000 fans per game. By June 5 the team was in second place 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. 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. The team averaged around 1,700 fans during the season but drew 2,500 for the playoff semifinals and 4,511 for the final home leg.
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. The team continued a search for a new owner in the offseason  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.
On November 9, 2012 the league officially announced that the team was purchased by Bill McGuire. On March 5, 2013, that was followed up by the team rebranding, with the name Minnesota United FC.
Colors and badge
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.
- National Sports Center; Blaine, Minnesota (2010–2012, 2013 Fall season)
- Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome; Minneapolis, Minnesota (season openers, 2013 Spring season)
United plays their home games in the 12,000-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, which is the largest ice facility of its type in the world.
The Minnesota Thunder also played at the NSC prior to the 2010 season.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2011)|
The Railway Cup was an inter-division match played between the NSC Minnesota Stars and AC St. Louis. The cup was named after the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway (M&StL) which was an American Class I railroad that operated lines radiating south to Saint Louis, Missouri from Minneapolis, Minnesota between 1870 to 1960. The rivalry was disbanded after the 2010 season when AC St. Louis folded.
During the course of the 2011 NASL season a rivalry was formed between the Stars and FC Edmonton known as The Flyover Cup. The name was chosen for Edmonton and Minnesota lying in flight paths for trans-continental flights, but often passed over by tourists. The symbol of the cup is a loon, being the national bird of Canada and also the state bird of Minnesota. Created by each team's supporters, it's focused on raising money for charity. The Eddies took home the Cup in 2011, posting a 2–0–2 (8 points) record against the Stars. The Cup changed hands in 2012, with Minnesota posting a 1-0-3 (6 points) record against Edmonton.
As with all the teams in the NASL, United hosts webcasts of all their home matches. The commentary is typically Chris Lidholm on play by play and Buzz Lagos on color commentary. The webcasts are free and streamed live via the official Minnesota United web page.
Players and staff
as of May 30, 2013
- Nick Rogers – President
- Manny Lagos – Technical Director and Head Coach
- Carl Craig – First Assistant Coach
- Kevin Friedland – Player/Assistant Coach
Notable former players
- See also All-time NSC Minnesota Stars roster
|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|
- From news services (November 11, 2009) "NSC plans don't include Thunder" Saint Paul Pioneer Press
- Leighton, Tim (January 8, 2010) "Soccer – New team will replace Thunder" Saint Paul Pioneer Press
- Quarstad, Brian. "NSC Minnesota is Name of New Pro Soccer Team – Logo Unveiled | IMS Soccer News". Insidemnsoccer.com. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "USSF Division-2 Pro League". Ussf.demosphere.com. 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- 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
- "USSF Division-2 Pro League". Ussf.demosphere.com. 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "USSF Division-2 Pro League". Ussf.demosphere.com. 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- 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.
- La Vaque, David (January 6, 2011). "NSC Minnesota Stars to kick off with new owner: Their league". Star Tribune.
- Leighton, Tim (January 6, 2011). "Soccer trying again – New league and ownership group for local pro team". Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
- 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.
- From news services (June 5, 2011). "usted Tressel promises win over Michigan". Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
- STAFF REPORTS (September 7, 2011). "Stars' losing streak reaches four in a row". Star Tribune.
- 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.
- "2011 Schedule". North American Soccer League. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Leighton, Tim (October 22, 2011). "Stars seek owner as well as a title". Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
- 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.
- Quarstad, Brian (January 10, 2012). "Minnesota Stars Get New Name and Logo: Minnesota Stars FC". Inside Minnesota Soccer. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "NSC MINNESOTA STARS ARE NOW MINNESOTA STARS FC". Minnesota Stars FC. January 9, 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Leighton, Tim (April 6, 2012). "Minnesota Stars could envision move up to MLS". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Vomhof Jr., John (April 6, 2012). "For sale: Twin Cities pro soccer team". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- La Vaque, David (April 6, 2012). "Minnesota Stars face bigger challenge: Winning new fans, owner". Star Tribune. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- La Vaque, David (April 8, 2012). "Champion Stars stymied in scoreless season soccer opener". Star Tribune. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Quarstad, Brian (2012-11-09). "A Day for Minnesota Soccer Fans to Celebrate". Insidemnsoccer.com. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- "National Sports Center News/Information". Nscsports.org. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Tomasch, Kenn (October 5, 2010). "Taking Attendance: The Final Chapter". Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Tomasch, Kenn (October 31, 2011). "Taking Attendance: The Final Chapter". Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- NSC Minnesota Stars team home page
- North American Soccer League NSC Minnesota page
- Dan's Soccer Zone, history of Minnesota soccer