Press Kit

Company Overview

Minnesota United is an accessible, resilient and unifying force bringing the fastest growing sport in the country to fans in Minnesota and across the Twin Cities with innovative style. Building a new home in the heart of two industrious cities, the North is rising—not replicating, but ushering in a new era of soccer in America. 

Major League Soccer

Minnesota United was awarded an expansion spot in Major League Soccer on March 25, 2015 and shortly thereafter announced its intention to build a state of the art soccer stadium in St. Paul at the center of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Construction of that stadium is expected to begin in summer of 2016 with United joining MLS in 2017.

Name

Minnesota United, MNUFC, the Loons, Minnesota United FC

Mascot – PK

Minnesota United's PK was officially named the MNUFC mascot in the summer of 2014. PK is a curious Loon who often gets into mischief by wandering into areas in search of new adventures. Known to have an excellent shot, PK is a less-than adequate goalkeeper who helps the MNUFC Dark Clouds and True North Elite cheer on the team at every home match. PK is often seen throughout the community donating time at charities, hospitals and soccer events.

Twitter: @PK_MNUFC

People often ask what PK stands for, but MNUFC has never gotten a straight-forward answer from PK himself. For now, it is understood that PK just means PK!

Biographies

 Dr. Bill McGuire

Dr. McGuire completed medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas. As Chairman and CEO of United Health Group, Dr. McGuire grew the health care company from $400 million to more than $70 billion in annual revenue.

Before Dr. McGuire purchased the team then known as Minnesota Stars FC, professional soccer in Minnesota was in jeopardy. After the NASL took over the team in 2011, the club won the league’s first championship, but was still on the verge of folding. Then-league commissioner David Downs reached out to Dr. McGuire to save the team.

Interested in seeing the team for himself, Dr. McGuire and now-President Nick Rogers attended several matches, culminating in the home leg of the 2012 Soccer Bowl. Inspired by the atmosphere and excitement of the fans, Dr. McGuire purchased the team following the 2012 season.

McGuire began grooming the team for success, using inspiration from a visit to Bayern Munich, one of Germany’s top clubs, to guide his course of action. The following March, the team was rebranded as Minnesota United FC. McGuire went to work building the team not only to survive, but to thrive on and off the field, expanding the front office and building partnerships with local businesses.

As the team’s accomplishments began to pile up, McGuire began working toward building an MLS franchise. He brought together an ownership group made up of Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and Carlson board member Wendy Carlson Nelson. The group began working with MLS to bring MNUFC to the highest level of the game in the U.S. and secure the future of soccer in Minnesota.

On March 25, 2015, MLS awarded Minnesota United the league’s 23rd franchise. For McGuire, it was an emotional moment, having seen his team go from the brink of folding to the top league in the U.S. and Canada in just two years. The team’s inaugural MLS season has featured historic moments, sellouts at TCF Bank Stadium and a burgeoning matchday atmosphere that ranks among the best in the league.

Dr. McGuire and the ownership group have continued to raise the profile of the club and its community by building a privately-funded, soccer-specific stadium. Allianz Field will revitalize the area, bringing in new corporate, retail and residential spaces. The stadium will be completed for the 2019 season in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul.  

Showing his commitment to the community, Dr. McGuire‘s philanthropic efforts include donations to the Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center and Gold Medal Park.

 Chris Wright

With the Wolves and Lynx, Wright oversaw both teams’ business operations and over 140 employees. An engaged member of the Twin Cities’ corporate community, Wright was integral to forming the organizations’ most closely integrated partnerships, including those with Target, Mayo Clinic, US Bank, Federated Insurance and Jack Link’s. Additionally, he has been heavily involved in the current renovation of Target Center, a $140 million project that began in the spring of 2016 and will be completed later in the 2017–18 season. Wright also led the 2014 sales efforts and development of Mayo Clinic Square, a state-of-the-art practice and performance facility that is widely recognized as an innovative and highly successful model for sports franchises.

For much of his tenure, Wright led the business planning and strategic direction for all business units associated with the Timberwolves and Lynx. He is recognized for establishing the Minnesota Lynx in the Twin Cities market, including helping the team realize unprecedented growth in ticket sales and corporate partnerships. These efforts have defined the Lynx as the recognized model for women’s professional sports, an undisputed leader in the WNBA both on and off the court, and an important asset to our community. A true believer that a healthy collaborative culture is a winning culture, Wright helped author the purpose statement Be A Pack: Believe, Inspire, Unite.

In his native England, Wright played and coached in various professional and semi-professional soccer leagues. When he first arrived in the United States, he served as general manager for Major Indoor Soccer League teams the Pittsburgh Spirit (1981–86) and the Minnesota Strikers (1986–87). Following that, he acted as a consultant working on bids for major national and international events, including the programming of the widely recognized National Sports Center in Blaine — which is today home of the Minnesota United Training Ground — before becoming its first director.

Wright graduated from Carnegie College of Physical Education in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He is very involved in and consults with many local charities and youth sports programs. He was elected to the advisory board of the Minnesota State University Sports Management Program and is an inductee into their Sports Marketing Hall of Fame.

 Nick Rogers

Since its foundation in 2013, Minnesota United has sought to pull together the strands of soccer’s rich legacy in the state while bringing more and more of the community into the fold. After four season in the NASL, MNUFC moved up to the top division of American soccer this year for its inaugural MLS season. With an ever-growing fanbase and construction underway on Allianz Field, a new, soccer-specific stadium in the Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul, soccer in the North is rising, with MNUFC at the forefront.

When Nick Rogers was named president of Minnesota Stars FC in January of 2013, the front office consisted of four full-time employees working in a windowless basement and a brand that was frequently confused with a hockey team. Since that time, the club has undergone a successful rebrand, secured a stadium deal in St. Paul, secured an MLS franchise, developed critical strategic partnerships and experienced huge growth in attendance, awareness, revenue and headcount. With a staff now numbering over 75, MNUFC has built on its success in the NASL and has transitioned into MLS by focusing on the game as much off the field as on with community partnerships and initiatives. Nick continues to work towards making MNUFC not only a successful team, but an essential cultural institution for the state of Minnesota and beyond.

The Maryland native earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland before graduating cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2008. Previously admitted to the bars of New York, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota, Nick practiced law for four years at law firms in DC and Minneapolis before leaving the law to focus on professional soccer full-time in October 2012.

 Manny Lagos

Manny Lagos became the club’s first Sporting Director at the end of the 2015 season, assuming responsibility for all player recruitment, acquisition and development as well as overseeing the sporting staff on a day-to-day basis.

Manny Lagos was appointed head coach of Minnesota in 2010 and has a 77-60-54 (W-L-T) record over 6 seasons including winning the NASL championship in 2011. Manny is the son of the co-founder of the Minnesota Thunder, Buzz Lagos. He was named NASL Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2014, making him, to date, the only person to receive that honor twice.

The youngest of eight children, Manny began his professional career as a member of the Minnesota Thunder, for whom he played seven seasons. During the inaugural MLS season, Manny joined the NY/NJ MetroStars. He went on to play for five MLS clubs: the MetroStars, Chicago Fire, Tampa Bay Mutiny, San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew. 

Lagos was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team. He scored the winning goal in a 3-1 victory over Kuwait, the U.S. team’s only victory of the tournament. He also appeared three times for Bruce Arena’s U.S. men’s national team before retiring from professional soccer in 2005.

He entered the administrative side of the sport in January 2006, when he assumed the role of director of soccer operations for the Thunder, where he emphasized youth development. An occasional broadcaster, Lagos served as a color commentator for XM Radio during the 2006 World Cup.

 Adrian Heath

Minnesota United announced in November of 2016 that Adrian Heath would be the club’s head coach for its inaugural MLS season. Prior to joining MNUFC, Heath served as head coach of Orlando City, and has over 20 years of managerial experience in the U.S. and England.

Hailing from Staffordshire, England, Heath enjoyed an 18-year professional soccer career before going into coaching. The midfielder’s journey began with Stoke City and included a notable career at Everton where he scored 71 goals in 226 appearances, winning two league titles, an FA Cup and a UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in 1985. In 1989 Heath went on to play for Espanyol in Spain, then returned to England to play for Manchester City and Burnley, where he eventually transitioned into the role of player-manager in 1996.

The Englishman spent the next 11 years coaching in England for clubs such as Burnley, Sheffield United and Coventry City before a chance encounter with Phil Rawlins brought him to the United States in 2008.

Rawlins, the former Stoke City director, met with Heath in his hometown of Newcastle-under-Lyme, where the two discussed Rawlins’ dream of setting up a football club in the U.S., and — serendipitously for Heath — Rawlins needed a manager.

Heath accepted the role and was named the head coach of the Austin Aztex, Rawlins’ USL expansion franchise. The team spent two years in Austin before relocating to Orlando in 2010, becoming Orlando City.

In just four years under Heath in its new city, Orlando City won two USL Pro championships, and three Commissioner’s Cups. The USL club under Heath also tallied two U.S. Open Cup victories over MLS opposition.

Orlando City launched into Major League Soccer in 2015, and Heath’s influence helped build the club for a very successful inaugural MLS season. The club finished seventh in the Eastern Conference, falling just short of clinching a berth in the 2015 MLS playoffs.

 Jamie Watson
Jamie Watson joined the MNUFC broadcast team ahead of the 2017 MLS season. Watson is a former professional soccer player with a 12-year career in MLS, NASL and USL. He played four seasons with Minnesota, beginning with a year in 2012 and returning from 2014 to 2016. Watson is involved with many Twin Cities charities, having worked with Make-A-Wish, Special Olympics, Easter Seals and many more. He has been involved in broadcasting throughout his career, including covering high school soccer for Bright House Sports Network in Florida, featuring in many Minnesota United videos, appearing as a weekly guest on KFAN's PowerTrip Morning Show and hosting the Adrian Heath show on 1500 ESPN.  
 Callum Williams

Callum Williams joined the MNUFC broadcast team ahead of the 2017 MLS season. Williams is a seasoned soccer commentator who has covered leagues ranging from Major League Soccer and the English Premier League to the German Bundesliga and other European competitions. He has worked in England covering MLS, EPL and a wide range of leagues for a number of worldwide for broadcasters such as Sky Sports, talkSPORT and the BBC.

During the past two years, Williams called the MLS Cup, World Cup Qualifiers, CONCACAF Champions League, the Gold Cup and the FA Cup for a global audience. Williams is recognized as a global voice of MLS who has earned wide acclaim due to his experience in both the United States and Europe.

 Kyndra de St. Aubin

Kyndra is currently the only female color commentator in MLS, serving as an analyst for Minnesota United FC alongside play-by-play commentator Callum Williams and sideline reporter Jamie Watson. The former University of Minnesota soccer star has been a part of the sports broadcasting landscape in both radio and television since graduating college in 2003.

Kyndra began her career with ESPN 1500AM in Milwaukee covering all sports in the Milwaukee/Madison area as the beat reporter for the Bucks (NBA), Brewers (MLB), Packers (NFL) and all UW Badger and Marquette University sports. In 2007 Kyndra moved to Arizona and joined Arizona Sports 98.7FM. She was the beat reporter for the Diamondbacks (MLB), Suns (NBA), Cardinals (NFL), Coyotes (NHL) and ASU sports. In addition to her reporting duties, she was a fill-in co-host and SportsCenter anchor during PM drive.

Kyndra was an integral part of Fox Sports' coverage of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. She was one of five broadcast teams selected for the tournament's television coverage on the network. Kyndra and her broadcast partner Jenn Hildreth did 12 games in total, including the semifinal of Japan versus England in Edmonton. She has also been a part of FS1's coverage of the International Champions Cup from 2013-2015 and served as a sideline reporter for MLS prior to joining Minnesota United.

She currently resides in White Bear Lake, MN with her husband Bobby and daughter Adelynne.

 John Guagliano
John Guagliano is the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Minnesota United. Prior to arriving in Minnesota, he worked for nine years as the Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting for Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals where he won numerous awards for his work in branding and marketing. He has also worked in broadcasting and game ops for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and NHL’s Nashville Predators.  
 Maureen Smith

Maureen Smith is the Senior Vice President of Finance at Minnesota United FC. She began her career as a CPA in public accounting and small business consulting. Prior to joining MNUFC, Maureen served as Director of Operations at UnitedHealth Group in the Office of Social Responsibility and the United Health Foundation supporting and reporting on enterprise-wide charitable activity. Additionally, since 2005, Maureen has served as Executive Director for WESAC Sports, Inc. a non-profit sports council partnering with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to provide low cost recreational opportunities for youth athletes.

 

In September 2016, Maureen joined MNUFC to help launch Major League Soccer in Minnesota. As part of the leadership team, Maureen has worked on the project to build a privately-funded stadium, Allianz Field, in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul and establish the foundation of a new sports franchise.

 Bryant Pfeiffer

As Senior Vice President of Sales & Strategy for Minnesota United FC, Bryant Pfeiffer is responsible for integrating revenue generating areas (ticketing, sponsorship, broadcast, membership, partnerships, premium, camps/clinics and academies). He is part of the senior leadership team guiding MNUFC through their inaugural season in Major League Soccer and supporting design of its future home, Allianz Field, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Prior to joining MNUFC in 2017, Pfeiffer spent ten years with the Club Services function of Major League Soccer as Vice President. He was the first hire brought in to help build the department at MLS in 2007 and was responsible for advising MLS clubs on all aspects of business operations with a focus on ticket sales, marketing, sponsorship, match-day presentation and customer retention. The department has been a driving force for collecting and sharing data and best practices as well as facilitating the planning and execution of league wide meetings, workshops, webinars and conference calls on a wide range of topics annually.

Pfeiffer created the MLS National Sales Center in July 2010 to further assist MLS clubs with developing sales talent and supporting MLS club ticket sales efforts. Since inception, over 230 trainees have been hired by MLS clubs and the program has received national and international recognition for sales and marketing innovation. 

Prior to joining MLS, Pfeiffer spent in 14 years with in various sales leadership positions with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. Pfeiffer earned his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

 Sara Daggett
Before joining Minnesota United, Sara was a partner at a boutique litigation firm in Minneapolis, where she focused her law practice on complex business and commercial litigation.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and worked for several years as a recruiter in the staffing industry before attending law school.  She earned her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, and has been recognized multiple times as a “Rising Star” in the legal profession by Minnesota Law & Politics magazine.  She volunteers her time as an attorney representing children in foster care for the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, and as President of the Board of Ragamala Dance, an internationally-recognized dance company based in Minneapolis.   

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Contact Information

4150 Olson Memorial Highway, Suite 300
Golden Valley, MN 55422

Phone: (763) 476.2237
Fax: (763) 331.8788
info@mnufc.com