If you’ve been around here for any length of time you’ll remember Brian Quarstad, who contributed immeasurably to CCN and went on to write the award winning, influential and indispensible Inside Minnesota Soccer site, and Bruce McGuire, an ongoing inspiration in football fandom, blogging, and just in general. I don’t know that you know much about these fine men but they’ve been very active in the world of Minnesota football for some time.
They’re both kind of a big deal, and I’m delighted to have made their acquaintance. Why would you care about that? Well, I don’t know, maybe you wouldn’t, but the history and future of football in Minnesota is compelling.
They can tell it better than I but in the last few years their team has evolved considerably: it was the Minnesota Thunder when I first took an interest (hence the Dark Clouds supporters group now) and then the Stars, then United. They play in the NASL, which is a kind of second tier in the US (there’s no relegation or promotion so it doesn’t quite work that way) and the trick has been that in recent times the team’s future has been somewhat up in the air, not least because the mighty NFL Vikings built a new stadium and threatened to have a soccer element to the site, which would have been annoying on a couple of levels: first, the Vikings could have helped out with soccer in Minnesota many times over the years and haven’t done so, but mainly because this rumoured Minnesota Vikings soccer suggestion would almost certainly have killed off Minnesota United, just as United had started to really be something.
Anyway, you don’t have to care about any of this but there’s a lovely purity to what’s happening in football ‘over there’. I’m not so naive as to think that it’s really any different to football anywhere else, but Americans tend to do sport well. So that means amazing stadia, cool logos, and excellent coverage. No, that’s not what the sport need necessarily be about, but as an armchair fan the ‘product’ (am I even writing this!) tends to be pretty good. I can get Minnesota United highlights on Youtube pretty damn quickly, for instance. That counts.
Minnesota United have some great supports, some of whom even put together a Fulham Review style annual last year. It’s better than anything I ever did, too.
So I dunno. Lots of Americans have adopted Fulham as their favourite team, so perhaps going the other way we might find it in our hearts to follow Minnesota United.
Oh, I nearly forgot! The team has just been given notional approval for promotion (agh!) to MLS in the near future. So the future is secure!
You can read all about this, and much else besides, at Northern Pitch. I strongly recommend it.