Minnesota United FC is an American professional soccer club based in Saint Paul, Minnesota that plays in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer.
Minnesota United FC Youth Development System
The MNUFC YDP is designed to develop the most talented and committed players regardless of social or economic situation into first team players for Minnesota United through the MLS NEXT system of player development. Through the creation of a Pro Player pathway, this program aims to raise the level of soccer in Minnesota.
Producing first team players from Minnesota for MNUFC means creating a program that serves the needs of Minnesota players. Minnesota is unique in soccer and our programming responds to our climate, our soccer calendar, our current systems for development and our geographical isolation. We’re building a system that is right for right here.
Within in each age group, MNUFC will create pools of the best players to promote competition. Players will be encouraged to play with their local clubs as well, promoting leadership and further development. The pool approach allows players to be guided to the best developmental situations at the right moments.
Minnesota United FC Youth Development
Minnesota United is reimagining its role in youth soccer in the state and the region with the launch of the MNUFC Youth Development Program. With its focus on developing professional-level soccer players who can play for Minnesota United’s first team, the program is designed to be collaborative with local youth clubs and function within the region’s unique soccer culture in an additive way. The MNUFC Youth Development Program will raise the level of the game across the state and region by bringing the highest level of youth soccer competition to the area and making it accessible to players regardless of social or economic situation.
Players in the MNUFC Youth Development Program will compete in the MLS Development League at the U15, U17 and U19 levels, providing an integrated pathway to the first team. At the same time, players will be able to continue playing for their club teams, with MNUFC providing resources and development assistance to those clubs. Minnesota United will also be actively engaged in youth development from U8 to U14 and will also be adding a U23 team that will also function as a reserve team, bridging the gap between youth and professional soccer.
The MNUFC Youth Development Program will be overseen by Chief Soccer Officer Manny Lagos, a former professional player with national team experience and a history in youth soccer development going back decades. The program will be led day-to-day by Noel Quinn, the Director of Youth Development for the club. Quinn has been heavily involved with Minnesota youth soccer for over 15 years, including as a director at Edina Soccer Club, EPSC and the Blaine SC.
Why Choose This Development Pathway?
We feel that this program will provide a more holistic approach to development that will create a clearer development pathway to professional soccer. By tailoring the program to the specific needs and unique environment of Minnesota, MNUFC can better serve the needs of the first team through local youth soccer while improving the competitive experience for all players. A major part of tapping into all the available soccer talent across the region is ensuring accessibility and affordability for all players.
If you’re interested in learning more about being part of the MNUFC Youth Development Program, please fill out the form by clicking here.
Minnesota United FC Academy Recruiting
Minnesota United FC are looking for young talented players who have the passion, ability and desire to pursue a pathway that may lead to a career in professional soccer.
Players are identified and evaluated for inclusion in our Academy through:
- Player Trial Application
- Youth Program Discovery
Minnesota United FC Scouting
Our Academy utilizes both coaches and scouts to identify prospective players. Individuals identified through scouting will be offered an opportunity to participate in a scheduled player trial or included within the appropriate age group team training.
Strict policies govern the scouting process (see section on Scouting Policies) and the manner in which scouts or members of our Academy Technical Staff conduct themselves. No direct contact with players is permitted during the course of the season and on-field contact between a scout and player is prohibited. Academy scouts are required to report any player identified to the MNUFC Academy Director or the Director of Player Personnel for follow up.
Minnesota United FC Player Trial Application
Players interested in being considered for our Academy and who would like to participate in a player trial must submit the Prospect Questionnaire (click here to access questionnaire). Upon review of your questionnaire we will contact you and your family to discuss the following options for trialing.
- Open player trial
- Team training session
- Youth program event
Minnesota United FC Youth Program Discovery
Throughout the year Minnesota United FC conducts numerous youth program activities, i.e., community camps, club training programs or Top Talent events. Participation in any one of these may lead to an opportunity to trial with our Academy as we include a talent discovery component within each of these programs.
Prospects identified through any of these methods are handled in a manner similar to scouted players. The player’s club will be contacted prior to the player being offered a trial opportunity.
For a complete listing and schedule of Youth Program events click here. (LINK INACTIVE. LINK WILL REMAIN HERE IN CASE IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AGAIN. UPDATED APRIL 2022).
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Minnesota United FC Overview
Major League Soccer’s Western Conference hosts Minnesota United FC, an American soccer team headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The team was the league’s 22nd franchise when it began play in 2017 and replaced the NASL franchise of the same name.
For its first two seasons in Major League Soccer, the team’s home games were held at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus. In the spring of 2019, the team began playing at Allianz Field in the Midway section of Saint Paul, where they joined the Minnesota Wild, St. Paul Saints, and Minnesota Whitecaps as the city’s fourth professional sports franchise. UnitedHealth Group ex-CEO Bill McGuire heads up the ownership of Minnesota United FC, which comprises the Pohlad family, owners of the Twins; Glen Taylor of the Timberwolves; and his daughter Wendy, who owns the hospitality company Carlson.
Minnesota United FC History
MLS Commissioner Don Garber made the announcement on March 25, 2015, that Minnesota United would be the league’s 23rd team and awarded the franchise to a group headed by McGuire. Others in the Minneapolis-St. Paul sports ownership group, such as Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, and Wild investor Glen Nelson, are part of the ownership group. Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf of the Minnesota Vikings also made an offer, but they were outbid (both of whom would later become minority owners of MLS expansion franchise Nashville SC). Garber stated that Minnesota would begin play in 2017 or 2018, depending on the readiness of Los Angeles FC to play in 2017.
As part of a law enacted by the Minnesota Legislature in May 2012 for a new NFL stadium expected to open by autumn 2016, a five-year exclusive window for MLS games at the new stadium was granted to the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota Senator Tom Bakk called Major League Soccer to advise them that the state legislature would not be providing finance for a soccer-specific stadium in support of the Wilfs’ application. At least three members of the Minneapolis City Council and Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat supported McGuire’s plan for a “soccer-specific stadium with 20,000 seats and playing on grass” rather than a “bigger, covered arena with artificial turf” like U.S. Bank Stadium.
MUFC 2017 Season
On March 3, 2017, the Portland Timbers defeated the New York Cosmos 5-1 at Providence Park in the team’s first-ever MLS match. This was the most humiliating loss for a brand-new expansion team. Until now, no MLS expansion team had ever lost their opening game by more than two goals. It was Christian Ramirez’s debut goal for the squad in the MLS. In a snowfall, they hosted Atlanta United FC in their home opener on the following weekend, setting a new MLS record kickoff temperature of 19 °F (7 °C). A 6–1 defeat to Minnesota gave the Vikings even more unwelcome records, including a record defeat for an expansion team and the only team in MLS history to lose five or more goals in consecutive matches. When Manchester United‘s first four games of the season ended in defeats against Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution, they had allowed 18 goals, which is an MLS record for the first six games of the season. On April 1, the team recorded its first MLS victory with a 4–2 win over Real Salt Lake at home. The team had grown as the season went on. Ethan Finlay, a native of Duluth, Minnesota, was brought in from Columbus Crew SC in the middle of the season, as well as a number of other players. United finished eighth in the Western Conference in their first MLS season.
MUFC 2018 Season
Early in the 2018 season, MNUFC suffered the season-ending injuries to Kevin Molino and Ethan Finlay, both midfielders. Darwin Quintero, formerly of Liga MX’s Club América, had just joined Minnesota United before Finlay’s injury. Quintero led the squad in both goals (11), as well as assists, in 2018, despite joining the team after just five games (15). Quintero’s hat trick against Toronto FC on July 4, 2018, was the first in Minnesota United’s history. Later in the season, the team signed Colombian forward ngelo Rodrguez as its second Designated Player. During their second season at TCF Bank Stadium, MNUFC averaged over 24,000 people per match, including a crowd of 52,242 for the final match. At home, the team had a winning record of 10, but only one victory away from home.
MUFC 2019 Season
Midfielder Ján Gregu from F.C. Copenhagen was signed as MNUFC’s third Designated Player; Sporting KC defender Ike Opara was traded to Sporting KC; longtime Seattle Sounders defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso; Ligue 2 defender Romain Métanire; and goalkeeper Vito Mannone, loaned from Reading F.C. were also added to the roster prior to the 2019 season. MNUFC played their debut encounter at the new Allianz Field on April 13 and drew 3-3 with New York City FC, ending their five-match road trip to start the 2019 season. At home, the team recorded 10 victories, six draws, and two losses. This year, MNUFC’s away record was much better than in previous years, with five victories and two ties, including a 2-0 thrashing of LAFC on September 1.
The team had a great year in the US Open Cup in 2019. This was Minnesota United’s first Cup final appearance since entering Major League Soccer, and it took place on August 27 at Mercedes Benz Stadium against Atlanta United. Atlanta emerged victorious, winning 2–1 against the opposition. As of late in the regular season, MNUFC was in second place in the Western Conference. Thus, they were given a place in the League Cup for 2020. On October 20, MNUFC hosted the LA Galaxy in their first MLS playoff encounter; the outcome was a 2-1 loss. At the season’s end, two players were recognized by the league as league MVPs. For the second time in his career, Ike Opara was awarded the 2019 MLS Defender of the Year. The MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award went to Vito Mannone, who kept 11 clean sheets and allowed just 43 goals all season.
MUFC 2020 Season
The Houston Dynamo acquired Minnesota United midfielder Marlon Hairston and $600,000 in allocation money after the 2019 season in exchange for Darwin Quintero’s services. Tyler Miller (soccer) was brought in from Los Angeles FC as a replacement for Vito Mannone, who was released from his loan at the end of the season. Luis Amarilla, a striker on loan from Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield, was among the players signed by MNUFC before the start of the season. Before the pandemic forced Major League Soccer to postpone its season for 30 days and later indefinitely owing to the severity of the illness, the Loons started their 2020 campaign strong with two road victories against the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes in March. For the 2020 season, the MLS is Back Tournament was hosted in Orlando, Florida, and featured 24 of the league’s 26 teams. MLS is Back Tournament The month-long competition had a group stage and a knockout stage, which were both included in the regular season rankings. There were only one win and two draws for the Loons in Group D. MNUFC defeated Columbus Crew 1-1 on penalties and San Jose Earthquakes 4-1 before succumbing to Orlando City SC in the tournament semifinal.
After the World Cup, the 2020 season resumed regular match play, with a planned schedule of 18 matches ending on November 8. Kei Kamara arrived from the Colorado Rapids in a trade while Emanuel Reynoso was brought in as a Designated Player. In the MLS Western Conference, MNUFC concluded the regular season in fourth place. At Allianz Field, they hosted their second-ever playoff game, which they won 3–0 over the Colorado Rapids. They then defeated Sporting Kansas City, the No. 1 seed, 3–0 on the road. The Loons lost 3–2 to the Seattle Sounders FC in the 2020 Western Conference Finals, which was again played on the road.
Colors and Badge
The badge depicts a stylised loon, the state bird of Minnesota, with eleven spread feathers, one for each player on the field. In addition to the team’s primary colors of sky blue and grey, they also have a red accent color. The Mississippi River is symbolized by the blue line that runs through the emblem. This map depicts the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul on either side of the blue line.
The Iron Range in Minnesota is represented by the gray color. The state motto, L’Etoile du Nord, inspired the rising crest and the North Star. The designs were developed by Zeus Jones.
The mascot of Minnesota United is PK, a loon. Since mid-2014, PK has served as the club’s mascot. In addition to the Dark Clouds and True North Elite, the Minnesota United FC fan organizations “MNWonderwall” also includes the Red Loons and the Dark Glitterati as affiliates. As of early 2019, Wonderwall has established “THUNDERWALL,” a permanent drumline in Allianz Field that serves to reinforce the shouts of the Wonderwall section on matchdays with percussion support. After every Minnesota United victory, the song “Wonderwall” by Oasis is sung by the crowd.
McGuire has shown an interest in building an 18,500-seat, outdoor soccer-specific stadium near to the Minneapolis Farmers Market in downtown Minneapolis. It wasn’t clear when the stadium design would be finalized, but the league stated it was working on a proposal before July 1, 2015, the deadline set by the league for the club’s start. However, Governor Mark Dayton said he would not block auxiliary funding for improvements to the state’s infrastructure.
This $250 million stadium cost includes $100 million for the MLS expansion fee; $30 million for property purchase; and $120 million to build the stadium. It was a meeting of the minds between the proprietors and the state’s political leaders. Sales tax exemptions of up to $3 million on construction supplies, as well as property tax exemptions for the stadium site, were requested by the organization. Around $50 million in tax savings are possible as a result of the tax cuts. Because Minnesota United’s stadium would be privately owned, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges objected to a sales and property tax exemption that had previously been granted to several other stadium projects in the city. Nevertheless, the vote was described as “largely symbolic” because McGuire had not requested state funds and the bill would not prevent the team from requesting city or county funds the following week, the Minnesota Senate voted 61–4 to prevent any state funds or tax expenditures from being used for the stadium. He stated that he would consider handing over the property in exchange for tax exemption if that was the best option for the community. Minnesota was still considered an expansion destination even though the July 1 deadline passed without a stadium commitment and McGuire’s group was the key basis for picking McGuire’s group, according to league deputy commissioner Mark Abbott. City-owned unoccupied land along I-94 that once housed Metro Transit’s bus barn was offered to Abbott by St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman later in the month for development.
The team’s agreement to purchase industrial land near the Farmer’s Market with an exclusive right to do so terminated on August 31, 2015, with no public word concerning an extension. A non-binding resolution of Ramsey County’s Board of Commissioners approved on September 8th, 2015, said that they would support the development of a stadium on the St. Paul bus barn site, provided that the design and construction be paid for by private monies. Minnesota United announced on October 23, 2015 that a stadium would be constructed on the 35-acre St. Paul Bus Barn property. Private financing will be used to build the 20,000-seat stadium, which is expected to be completed in 2018. Minnesota United FC picked Populous to build their stadium on November 25, 2015. Mortenson Construction and Populous were contracted by the team on December 9, 2015, as part of the stadium construction.
It was announced on February 24th, 2016, that the team’s private stadium, with a capacity of 21,500 soccer fans, would be erected by 2018 and financed by the team. As of July 25, 2017, Allianz Field had been renamed and will open in March 2019. Major League Soccer (MLS) officially announced on August 19, 2016, that Minnesota United would play in the 2017 season at TCF Bank Stadium. In the 2017–2018 season, the team was based at the stadium while their new soccer-specific stadium was being built.
City of Saint Paul, Minnesota
The state’s capital, Saint Paul, is located in the state of Minnesota. Because of its tiny size and high density of residents, Ramsey County has its county seat here. 308,096, making it the 63rd-largest US city and the 11th most populous Midwestern city, according to an estimated population of 308,096, as of 2019. At its confluence with the Minnesota River, Minneapolis is a major metropolis. Over the river, the state’s largest city, Minneapolis, can be seen on the other side. The “Twin Cities” refers to the two cities as a unit. 3.6 million people call Minneapolis–Saint Paul the third-largest metropolitan region in the Midwest, and it’s one of the most densely populated places in the country.
History and expansion as a port in Saint Paul are linked to water. The junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, as well as the steep river bluffs and spectacular palisades on which the city is built, were cut into the region during the last ice age. An undercutting river channel was caused by the melting glaciers and Lake Agassiz. The city is located in the eastern part of the state. On the city’s west, southwest, and southeast sides, the Mississippi River serves as a municipal boundary. The largest city in Minnesota, Minneapolis, is located to the west.
Located north of Falcon Heights are Lauderdale, Roseville and Maplewood, with Maplewood on the east. As well as Lilydale, Mendota, and Mendota Heights, which are all located across the river from St. Paul. Aside from the Mississippi River, Pig’s Eye Lake is one of the city’s three major lakes. The land area of the city is 51.98 square miles (134.63 km2), while the water area is 4.20 square miles (10.88 km2). This information comes from the United States Census Bureau.
It is characteristic of the Upper Midwest to have a continental climate in Saint Paul. Warm to hot and humid summers are followed by freezing, icy winters. Using the Köppen climate classification system, Saint Paul is classified as having a hot and humid summer climatic zone continental (Dfa). Snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and fog are all common in the city, as are other types of precipitation.
Late December, January, and February are the worst months for Arctic air masses because of Saint Paul’s northern location and absence of major bodies of water to moderate the air. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area has the coldest annual mean temperature (8.36 °C) of any major U.S. metro area, with an average of 47.05 °F.