Best of 2016: #4, Minnesota United FC

Minnesota United FC stadium rendering

We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Soccer Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #4: Minnesota United FC‘s very good year. 

Minnesota United FC had a very good 2016.

At the beginning of 2016, though, there were many questions.

Would the team join MLS in 2017 or 2018? What would the new stadium look like? Would the city council and state legislature provide the tax relief and approvals to set the plan in motion?

As 2016 comes to a close, most of those questions have been answered, and the answers were positive.

The team is set to begin MLS play in 2017, and it broke ground in December on a new $150 million dollar stadium in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. While the team is still awaiting word on whether it will get a sought-after property-tax exemption, the groundbreaking provided a glimpse of what could lie ahead for Minnesota United FC.

Under a plan announced in August, the team will begin play at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus – the same stadium the Vikings used as their new stadium was built – and will move into the new stadium when it’s completed, sometime during the 2018 season.

The new stadium, designed by the global firm Populous, is expected to seat just under 20,000 fans. Renderings show a European-style modern, curvilinear facade. The location is also taken into account in the design, with a below grade pitch to keep the stadium profile low, fitting in with the area’s scale, and a roof and lighting system designed to keep the bright stadium lights from flooding the nearby residential neighborhood.

The team has begun selling tickets and signing players in the buildup to their MLS debut. It was announced last week that the opening game of the 2017 MLS season will see Minnesota take on the Timbers on March 3 in Portland, and that the home opener for the Minnesota United will be March 12 against next season’s other expansion team, Atlanta United.

Though Minnesota United had a great year in 2015, when it was awarded an MLS franchise, 2016 may have been even better. This year, all the pieces fell into place and the dream became a reality. For the club and its fans, things just keep getting better every year. With MLS play to begin in 2017, and a new stadium in 2018, that trend is likely to continue.

Rendering courtesy Minnesota United FC. 

Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:

#5: Orlando City SC Preps for New Era

#6: D.C. United Plan New Stadium

#7: Louisville City FC

#8: Tampa Bay Rowdies

#9: Charlotte Pushes for the MLS

#10: St. Louis Makes its Expansion Case

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August Publications