After months of silence and speculation, Minnesota United FC have scheduled an event to formally announce a move to Major League Soccer for the 2017 season.
UPDATE: Minnesota United FC have announced that the press conference will occur at Saint Paul’s Union Depot at 5:30 PM, with a party to follow. Fans can register to attend the event on the team website.
On August 19th, the Loons will hold a joint press conference with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Saint Paul’s Mayor Chris Coleman that will commit the team to playing in MLS in 2017. FiftyFive.One has also spoken to numerous sources who confirmed that the club will be playing at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium for 2017 under a new name of Minnesota FC.
As fans left the National Sports Center in Blaine last night, United staff handed them business cards with “STP 08.19.16 Be There” and “#NextStopMLS” on them. The relief of Minnesota United finally committing to their future in MLS will have done something at least to distract those fans from watching an abject 4-0 defeat to Miami FC.
The announcement has been long in the works and, as we wrote weeks ago, the team was merely waiting for confirmation of a legislative special session that would approve the final pieces of the Midway stadium deal.
While there were hopes a legislative session would materialize mid-August, sources say that it is most likely going to occur at the end of the month. This means, Dr. Bill McGuire must have assurances that the legislation that pertains to the stadium will go untouched. No details for the event have been settled upon — time, venue, or whether it will be a press conference or a big party which the team had hoped to do earlier this summer when they thought the bill had passed.
The new MLS era will see Minnesota United no longer. After pressure from Arthur Blank, whose new team Atlanta United will join MLS in 2017 as well, the Loons were forced to change their name, and Minnesota FC will be the fifth name in a decade for a Minnesotan professional soccer team. The rest of the Minnesota United brand –colors and the iconic loon — are expected to stay largely intact.
Committing to MLS allows the Loons to finally start making plans for the future, including signing players and working on unveiling their new brand as Minnesota FC. The shortened turn-around means that the club will play its first season without customized jerseys, instead using off-the-rack Adidas designs.
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