As we count down to a record-breaking crowd, we're taking a look back at the historic moments that helped to shape soccer in Minnesota. From the Kicks in NASL to your hometown Minnesota United, it's time to celebrate soccer past and present at TCF Bank Stadium on Oct. 21 when MNUFC breaks an attendance record that has stood for more than 40 years, ever since a crowd of 49,572 fans came to Metropolitan Stadium to watch the Minnesota Kicks beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 and win the NASL Conference Championship.
Today we revisit what led to the creation of MNUFC back in 2013. The club was originally founded in 2010 as NSC Minnesota Stars shortly after the folding of its predecessor, the Minnesota Thunder, the year before. Though it was initially owned and operated by the National Sports Center, the organization did not meet US Soccer’s ownership requirements for a second-division team. Operations were then taken over by the newly established North American Soccer League, of which the Stars were a founding member.
Despite operating as a league-owned team with an extremely limited budget, the first few years for the Stars were wildly successful. The team won the 2011 NASL championship and reached the final once again the following year. However, the league would not be able to support the team for another season and new ownership would be needed to keep the team in Minnesota.
Not wanting to lose one of its most successful teams so early into its launch, the NASL sought out a new owner for the Stars. It reached out through a series of connections to find future owner, and now-managing partner of the club, Dr. Bill McGuire.
Dr. McGuire had attended several games throughout the 2012 season and after seeing the potential for the future of the game in the state, officially took over ownership of the club in November. The following March, the team announced that it would be rebranding to Minnesota United FC.
From there the club was able to grow by bringing in more talented players, expanding the front office and drawing thousands of new fans each year. Since its formation, MNUFC has won a season championship, faced several world-renowned teams and joined the top league in North America. Now with the opening of Allianz Field just around the corner, it will mark a new chapter for the club that has come back from the brink and become an iconic part of Minnesota’s sports history.