The soft whump whump of applause from gloved hands did its best to fill the bowl of what will one day be Allianz Field on a clear, brilliant, 28° afternoon. Doing their best to stay warm roughly where the south goal will one day stand, a crowd of about a hundred guests listened to Representative Rena Moran, Councilman Dai Thao, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and MNUFC Managing Partner Dr. Bill McGuire talk about the progress that’s been made so far on Minnesota United’s future home.
There were quips about the weather — which Coleman noted was considerably better than when they last had a ceremony on the site for the groundbreaking last December — and Thao called Allianz Field the future home of both MNUFC and the Dai Thao “Over 40 and Under 5-foot-5 Soccer Scrimmage,” which he assured the assembled would be a “low-scoring game.” He and the other speakers emphasized the effect the project will have on the community, both in terms of bringing the world’s game to St. Paul and what it will do for the economic development of the Midway neighborhood.
“I think it makes us different,” said Dr. McGuire after the ceremony. “It’s not just another soccer team or a club. We’ve talked about the Twin Cities, all of us, for years, about being a great community, a great city, and the international community. This is another tangible piece. And particularly when Allianz said we want our name on this stadium, with this team, and this community. Of all the places in America they could have picked, they picked this one.”
Once the remarks were finished, a 9-foot column was signed by the speakers and a few other guests, including legislators from the St. Paul City Council, guests from Allianz Life, plus Mayor-elect Melvin Carter. The column was attached to a massive crane and hoisted to where it will stand in the building.
The site is definitely taking shape, and it’s possible to determine roughly where the center circle will one day be. Heading inside where the concrete had already been poured on the south end of the stadium’s footprint, the crowd could see the pipes that would one day run into the showers in the locker room and also stand under what will eventually be the safe-standing supporters section. That section will be crafted from a single piece of aluminum that will reverberate — loudly — when the fans stomp on it.
For now, most of the stadium has to be imagined in this way — by squinting at concrete and plastic wrap, by straining to hear the echoes of the supporters’ chants as the players assemble in the hallways under the concourse. But there is one spot — the southern part of the eastern wall — that is actually more or less finished. The charcoal gray, textured wall curves gently around to the southeastern corner to where the beam signed today will stand on the concourse. Looking down along its length, it’s a little easier to blot out the dirt and loose rocks and construction vehicles and see the future.
MNUFC season tickets for 2018 at TCF Bank Stadium are now available. Becoming a season ticket holder now gives you seating priority for 2019 at Allianz Field. Get your tickets for next year at MNUFC.COM or by calling 763.4SOCCER.