Minnesota United’s home opener against Atlanta United kicks off at 4 p.m. this Sunday, March 12, but you’ll want to be in your seats well before then for the match presentation ceremonies we have planned for the team’s first-ever MLS match.
Chris Lidholm — the host of MNUFC Radio and a soccer commentator with over 20 years of experience calling matches in Minnesota —will help Minnesota United welcome 17 legends from Minnesota soccer history to the pitch prior to kickoff, including:
- Tino Lettieri — Goalkeeper for the Minnesota Kicks and Strikers. Known as the “Bird Man” of Minnesota and famous for having a stuffed parrot named “Ozzie” hanging in the back of his goal.
- Tim Twellman — Forward for the Minnesota Kicks. Father of retired striker Taylor Twellman, who will be in the booth broadcasting the match for ESPN2.
- Alan Willey — Forward for the Minnesota Kicks and Strikers. Second all-time goal scorer in NASL history, nicknamed “The Artful Dodger.”
- Buzz, Gerard and Manny Lagos — Buzz founded the Minnesota Thunder in 1990 and coached the team for their entire 16-year history. Gerard played striker for the team while Manny played midfielder and went on to coach Minnesota United in the NASL before becoming Sporting Director with the club.
- Brian Kallman — Defender for Minnesota Thunder and MNUFC. Older brother of current MNUFC defender Brent Kallman. Grew up in Woodbury.
- Tony Sanneh — Midfielder for Minnesota Thunder. Played for D.C. United and the LA Galaxy in MLS, founded The Sanneh Foundation which, among other initiatives, aims to help urban youth through soccer programs.
- Amos Magee — Forward, Manager for Minnesota Thunder. Played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Chicago Fire in MLS, is currently Director of Player Personnel for MNUFC.
The national anthem will be performed by the Twin Cities’ own Cameron Kinghorn, a vocalist, trumpeter and songwriter who performs regularly at major venues throughout the Twin Cities. Comfortable in settings from soul to R&B to funk to jazz, Kinghorn performs most frequently with Black Market Brass, JazzMN Orchestra and the smooth yet funky Nooky Jones, whose debut album is coming out this summer.
There will also be a flyover of the stadium by the T-6 Thunder North American Flight Team, led by veteran pilot Chuck Datko. The team will fly four WWII-era T-6 Texan planes and approach TCF Bank Stadium from the west.
At each home match this season, a member of the Itasca Society — a club composed of season ticket holders who join us for our inaugural season — will participate in the coin toss. For this match, it’s going to be Bruce McGuire, a longtime supporter of soccer in Minnesota and America. In 2004, he founded the supporters group Dark Clouds and since 2005, he’s written about the beautiful game at his website, Du Nord Football.
Tickets are still available for this historic match against fellow expansion side Atlanta United. Be there for the beginning as MNUFC embarks on its inaugural MLS season. Fans who want to catch every home match can join the Itasca Society. Over 11,000 season tickets have already been sold, rapidly approaching the inaugural season limit of 11,842 members in this exclusive club — one for every lake in Minnesota. A portion of all proceeds from these season tickets are donated to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Loon Monitoring program. Both season tickets and tickets for the home opener are available now at MNUFC.COM or by calling 763.4SOCCER.