M-L-Yes: Major League Soccer expanding to Minnesota in 2018


"It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Minnesota to Major League Soccer."

Those were the historic words spoken by MLS Commissioner Don Garber Wednesday as Major League Soccer announced that Minnesota has been awarded an expansion franchise that will make its MLS debut in 2018.

The team will be owned by a group led by Minnesota United FC owner, Dr. Bill McGuire, who has backing from Minnesota Twins owners, the Pohlad family, and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.

United FC is the reigning full-season champion in the North American Soccer League.

"I want to thank MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league's owners for helping us bring Major League Soccer to Minnesota," McGuire said, according to a statement from MLS. "As a group of Minnesotans who love this state and have made a commitment to bring this vision to life, this is a momentous day that we've all been waiting for."

McGuire's group is working on plans to build an outdoor soccer-only stadium and hopes to finalize a plan by July 1, the release says.

The plan is to build the stadium adjacent to Interstate 94 on the western side of Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. Beyond the likely location, plans for that stadium haven't been put together yet.

One big question is how it will be paid for. Gov. Mark Dayton reiterated Wednesday that the state will not contribute any funding toward the soccer stadium's construction, according to WCCO. And legislative leaders from both parties made that very clear last week, when rumors of the announcement began circulating.

Dayton did say the state or local governments could pay for infrastructure improvements for the new structure, although no such requests have been made yet.

Garber, the MLS commissioner, called new stadiums the "cornerstone of our league's growth."

Before the announcement United FC's diehard fans, the "Dark Clouds," made their presence known by chanting, "The team that nobody wanted is going to MLS."

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