Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MLS4MN Advocates for Professional Soccer in Minnesota

For Immediate Release:

MLS4MN Advocates for Professional Soccer in Minnesota

May 29, 2012


Dave Laidig
(952) 212-5195

Wesley Burdine
(612) 237-0345

Minneapolis (MN) – A grass-roots coalition of supporters and businesses has formed seeking the advancement of professional soccer in Minnesota. For over 30 years, Minnesota has supported a professional team, but professional soccer in Minnesota is at a critical stage.

The Vikings made soccer features key components of the recent stadium legislation signed by the Governor, with the organization publically considering a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. However, Minnesota currently fields a team of over-achieving professional soccer players; the Minnesota Stars FC, the defending champions of the North American Soccer League (NASL).

With the dynamic environment for soccer in Minnesota, the prospect of a top-tier MLS team is tempered by the possibility that the exclusive rights for bringing an MLS team to the state has created a lame duck situation for the Minnesota Stars. With the Stars currently searching for a new owner, the stadium bill will have driven away all other potential owners. As a result, the Vikings stadium bill may end up killing professional soccer in Minnesota for at least the next decade.

In response to these threats, in the interests of local businesses that thrive off the economic stimulus, and in support of professional soccer, the coalition behind MLS4MN serves as an organizing foundation for professional soccer in Minnesota. And with its mission to bring the highest quality soccer to Minnesota, MLS4MN supports Minnesota’s local pro teams, while maintaining the goal of ultimately attracting an MLS team to the Twin Cities.

As stated by Ben Pfutzenreuter, “Because if there’s one thing Minnesotans do well, it’s working together for our future. Major League Soccer represents additional jobs, revenue, entertainment, and cultural appeal for citizens, current and prospective.” Major League Soccer has currently the 3rd highest average attendance of all leagues in the US. Further, soccer supporters realize MLS markets are the primary targets for international soccer events like US Mens National Team games and European friendlies.

MLS4MN recently addressed the controversial trade of the Stars right to host a home game in the US Open Cup in exchange for undisclosed financial considerations from the MLS-leading Real Salt Lake. Citing a difficult business decision, the Stars gave up the home game it earned with its second round victory in Des Moines last week.

While acknowledging how hard it is to lose an opportunity to compete against an MLS team in Minnesota, the coalition looks forward to demonstrating to MLS our local soccer culture through our support for the MN Stars. Ben Pfutzenreuter puts it succinctly, “We hope Don Garber and RSL recognize that we are taking one for the team, especially in future considerations."

Local supporters, led by the Dark Clouds, will cheer on Minnesota’s professional soccer team as it faces one of many future MLS opponents. The Minnesota Stars FC have arranged for a viewing party, starting at 7 pm, at the Sweetwater Bar & Grill, 161 St. Anthony Ave. near downtown St. Paul for those unable to make the trip to Utah.

For more info about the campaign, see MLS4MN or the Facebook page.


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