Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber strongly believes that the latest expansion franchise to be revealed, Minnesota United FC, will succeed as they represent everything that is spurring the growth of MLS.
Minnesota United FC were officially announced as the league’s 23rd expansion franchise on Wednesday afternoon and will enter the league by 2018 at the latest.
It’s a fascinating turnaround of fortunes for Minnesota United, who currently play in the NASL, as the club almost ceased from existence two years ago.
Uncertainty had surrounded soccer in Minnesota for years and after changing team names, league’s and ownership several times, Dr. Bill McGuire came in to save the club in November 2012.Embed from Getty Images
“[The owners] are totally committed,” Garber said at Wednesday’s expansion announcement from Target Field. “They love this game, they love this city and they’ve got a great plan for a building.
“They represent exactly what we want and what we need to continue this momentum that we have, that’s really stimulating the growth of our league.”
Garber and the people at the top of the MLS pyramid chose Minnesota as the 23rd expansion franchise despite solid bids from Sacramento Republic, Las Vegas and a second one from Minnesota headed by the NFL’s Vikings ownership.
And the decision to award the latest MLS expansion slot to Minnesota United FC is something the MLS Commissioner thinks will go down as a great one.
“We have total belief in the Twin Cities. This is a market that is young, that is diverse, that has more people riding their bicycles around than they do in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is a pretty hip place.
“It has an incredible international flair too. It is a city that represents all of the things that we have been able to capitalize on that are allowing our league to be a sport for a new America. It’s diverse, it’s young and it is empowered by people who are the next generation of great sports fans.”Embed from Getty Images
United are set to enter MLS in time for the start of the 2018 season but could come in a year earlier, depending on developments with LAFC and their stadium plans, though Garber admitted that the date of entry had nothing to do with David Beckham’s proposed Miami franchise.
“It could be as early as 2017. We have a number of moving pieces. That’s part of the dynamic with a young sports league. The target is no later than ‘18 and it could be as early as 2017.
“Los Angeles is coming into our league and they are either ’17 or ’18 and Minnesota will be either ’17 or ’18. It’s not related to Miami.”
Will Minnesota United FC take MLS by storm when they enter the league in the next three years?