Minnesota soccer team

Major League Soccer team coming to Minneapolis

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, left, welcomed Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire to the top level of professional soccer during a news conference, Friday, March 25, 2015.

    Updated: 3:20 p.m. | Posted: 10:45 a.m.

    Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that Minnesota will be the home of a new Major League Soccer team. The owners also announced plans to build an open-air soccer stadium in Minneapolis.

    The winning bid for the expansion team came from ex-UnitedHealth Group CEO Bill McGuire, who led a partnership that includes Minnesota Twins owners in the Pohlad family, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, Carlson board member Wendy Carlson Nelson and former Minnesota Wild investor Glen Nelson.

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    McGuire owns the North American Soccer League's Minnesota United, the latest incarnation of teams previously known as the Minnesota Thunder, the NSC Stars and the Minnesota Stars.

    Bill McGuire is owner of North American Soccer League's Minnesota United and a partner in the winning bid for a Major League Soccer expansion team.League officials said the team will start to play in 2018 in a stadium being planned for downtown Minneapolis.

    MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the large population of young people in the area and the region's long tradition of supporting soccer factored into the league's choice to expand to Minnesota.

    He described Minneapolis as a "cool, funky, hip city."

    "It has an incredible international flair to it, " Garber said of Minneapolis. "It is a city that represents all of the things that we've been able to capitalize on that allows our league to be the sport for a new America."

    Bill McGuire Courtesy Bill McGuire

    The Minneapolis team will be among the final pair added to meet the league's goal to expand to 24 teams by 2020. In the last decade, the league has added 13 clubs from across the country. League officials said the stadium was a main factor in the league's decision, which the league earlier estimated would cost between $100 million and $150 million to build.

    The proposed stadium would be located near the Minneapolis Farmers Market on the western side of Target Field. League officials said final plans for the stadium will be released by July 1.

    McGuire said the soccer stadium could complement the farmers market and help facilitate development in the area.

    "We believe a soccer park there can help facilitate development and expansion of that part of our community, " McGuire said.

    But the team may face some difficulty getting public subsidies for yet another stadium in a city that's added three other new sports stadiums in the last decade.

    The idea of public financing for the stadium met with opposition from legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton, who advised that it would need to be privately financed.

    Despite apparent opposition from state lawmakers to public financing of the new stadium, McGuire has not ruled out asking for a public subsidy.

    An attorney for the owners group reportedly told a meeting of Minneapolis real estate investors that the team would seek a "higher percentage of private dollars than any pro stadium project in the Twin Cities, " a hint that it would not be entirely privately funded.

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