Official: Minnesota to join Major League Soccer

25 March 2015 | Posted in Sports Properties, Soccer, North America, | By Eoin Connolly

Official: Minnesota to join Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer (MLS) has confirmed that Minnesota will be the home of its 23rd team from 2018.

The new expansion franchise will be led by a consortium headed by pulmonologist and healthcare executive Dr Bill McGuire, the owner of North American Soccer League (NASL) club Minnesota United FC since November 2012. The MLS team will play in a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Minneapolis, in the Farmers Market neighbourhood to the west of the Target Field baseball venue.

The ownership group currently includes Robert Pohlad, Jim Pohlad, Wendy Carlson Nelson and Glen Taylor, while further investment will be sought.

"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."

Robert Pohlad, who is chairman of the Pohlad Companies, added: "Soccer’s broad appeal and youthful orientation is so strong that to bring the game, at its highest level, to our community is a tremendous opportunity. Our family believes soccer in this part of downtown Minneapolis can also be a catalyst for development. We look forward to being part of the MLS family."

Current Minnesota United FC season ticket holders, and those who purchase tickets in 2015, will be given priority when sales begin for the 2018 season.

Minnesota will follow Atlanta and Los Angeles FC into MLS. New York City FC and Orlando City SC joined the league this year, taking the league to 20 teams. A Miami franchise owned by former LA Galaxy and England star David Beckham will also be expected to enter the league before Minnesota if a venue can be found for a new stadium.

MLS has repeatedly stated its aim to have a 24-team league in place by 2020.

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