Wright, the CEO of Minnesota United FC, joined the club last fall and has determined that there were definite areas of need for the team. During the home opener on Saturday he discussed in detail three specific areas: the fan experience, the team, and the potential USL side.
For the fan experience, the offseason featured a solid media campaign called #ScarvesUp, which has helped to develop more awareness in the public of what makes soccer unique in the market.
During corner kicks at the home opener, most of the stadium were on their feet waving their scarves, a marked change from the previous year where that was mostly contained to the supporters end, suggesting that the campaign is having some effect.
The former Timberwolves president spoke highly of the fan base here in Minnesota and what that foretold for 2019 and the first season at Allianz Field.
“I mean we have an incredible fan base here. We’ve just tipped over 13,000 season tickets. We only hold 20,000 inside of Allianz field. We’re not going to have any problems selling out every single game.”
Even with success on the fanside going strong, Wright spoke openly about the struggles the club has faced on the field.
At the end of the 2017 season the team looked to need a major overhaul after allowing an MLS record number of goals, but the off season did not go as planned.
Wright, alluding to some of the failed signings this offseason, said, “So often, you go after a player and now suddenly you’ve identified a player and suddenly you’ve raised the profile of that player and other people get interested. The resources that you felt you can spend on that player suddenly aren’t enough.”
Still, the team has a plan moving forward with how to build the roster.
“We’ve got to be competitive,” the Englishman explained. “We’ve got to go younger and we’ve got to find players who want to be here and are good for our chemistry, fit the MLS style we want to play.”
As far as a timeline for when the roster would match the vision, Wright hinted at the opening of the new stadium as the time when fans could expect all the roster building to come to fruition.
“We’re going to get [the roster] right by the time we get to Allianz Field and be very competitive.”
When asked about a USL side, Wright was very clear that one would be part of the future of the club, but could not give specifics about where it would be located. While 2019 might is possible, 2020 is looking much more likely.
Listening to Wright answer questions about the direction of the club, it became clear to this reporter that the new Minnesota United CEO has a plan and he is putting in the work to see it through.
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