Now that the Daredevil recaps are wrapped up (few more to come), I moved over to some futebol at Northern Pitch. Here’s one about the idea of a community owned MNUFC: http://northernpitch.com/blog/19/entry-72-what-if-the-team-was-partially-community-owned/
My first for the Northern Pitch site and blog, covering soccer in MN: http://northernpitch.com/blog/19/entry-29-the-brazilian-pipeline-may-have-only-just-begun-flowing/
I’ll make this one quick, cause for one I don’t have a lot of time, and secondly, it really upsets me. I attack the media all the time. Local Twin Cities sports media, however, never have you epically failed like this.
I’ve been a fan of the local Twin Cities football (feet on ball) club for over a decade and have seen many lows and some highs. As the NSC Stars, we partied in the stands when they won the 2011 NASL (2nd Division behind MLS) Championship on my birthday weekend with my cousin, brother-in-law, closest friends, and fellow hooligan Dark Cloud (supporters group) pirate mates.
This year’s team is miles ahead of that 2011 team and have been a joy to watch on the pitch. It’s amazing how far they’ve come in so short a time, especially considering not more than five years ago there was a real possibility the team was bankrupt and done. The Loons, as we call our beloved Minnesota United FC (the latest and best incarnation of the same team), have already won the Spring season and may also win the Fall. They have already clinched a play-off berth. Another championship is in sight and MLS rumors abound as millionaires are now fighting over the future of the team. But more than that, historic is the word, the footy community nationwide has been a buzz about the news that broke earlier this week regarding star midfielder Miguel Ibarra (also former USMNT player and ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas’ take).
A winning team, an amazing moment where a second division player is jumping European based players and MLS players to potentially wear the National Team jersey, and not a single fucking local sports person reports it on TV because everyone is on NFL, MLB, and NCAA crack. All of these MN teams, by the way, are shit. The corruption and scandals in the NFL are sickening and touched stateside with Adrian Peterson’s despicable mess. It was Teddy Bridgewater fever over and over to forget Peterson ever existed. Does anyone even watch baseball anymore? The Gophers beat Michigan and brought back a jug nobody has seen in decades, and the MN media’s heart stopped. People forgot they already have one brutal loss in five games.
All of this for days and the biggest Twin Cities sports story of 2014 was brushed under the rug. I went especially hard after our local NBC affiliate Kare 11, who pre-NFL, covered most home games and even went to some for live coverage. That is, they did their fucking jobs (this applies to the Lynx and other “smaller” teams too, I should add). As the yarn unravels on these teams, their owners, commissioners, and so on, people will look to alternatives. It’s already happening. I’m not going to pretend futebol is perfect, FIFA is a nightmare of corruption, but lately the NFL is nipping at its heels. Money in politics, money in sports. Apparently it’s too much to ask for a smaller team in a smaller league that is winning and making athletic history to get a two minute spot on the news at 10.
By Eric Silva Brenneman
Despite the evils of FIFA, there is nothing like the World Cup. It is and always will be the greatest and most popular sporting event in the world. Nobody should have to wait another four years to get their football/soccer fix, and the good news is there is no wait. With footy now more available in the U.S. than ever before between the Premier League broadcasts on NBC, MLS (Major League Soccer) on ESPN, Liga Mexicana on Univision, the Bundesliga on Fox coming in 2015, not to mention accessing whatever league you want online, you can fill your plate easily. While it’s great to watch on TV, nothing beats singing and screaming your heart out at a live professional match. So come support your Loons, The Minnesota United.
I’ve been following the MN team and its evolving names, management, stadiums, etc., for over a decade. Even though they won the B League (MLS is the A League) North American Soccer League (NASL) Championship in 2011 (what a party in the rain!), I must say, the current team is something special to watch. As of this writing, Minnesota United (MNU) are #1 in the NASL standings and have essentially sealed their post-season berth quite early in the season. With players from all over the U.S. and Brazil, Italy, Canada, Japan, Serbia, and others countries represented, the team plays with fire.
MNU play until October at the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine. Check out the remaining schedule at http://www.mnunitedfc.com/schedules. Tickets are very affordable and while you can purchase online, it’s not a problem to buy at the stadium upon arrival. It can be family friendly sitting on one side, or if you’d like a more authentic and rowdy experience, you can stand with the Dark Clouds supporters on the other side of the pitch. If the drive is an issue, the Dark Clouds organize a party bus that leaves from The Nomad World Pub on Cedar (21+ for sure, your fee includes a pair of Surlys). From experience, it sells out fast! During the pre-season, the team spent time training in England and made history as the first team from the U.S. ever to stay and train at St. George’s Park, home of the English National Team. While playing matches with some English clubs, they made big connections, too.
This will have already happened after publication, but Premier League team out of Wales, Swansea City, is coming to town for an exhibition match with MNU. Another very special event this year that any footy-head should make it to, is the International Champions Cup coming to TCF Bank Stadium and featuring a match between Manchester City of England and Olympiacos of Greece on August 2nd. You read that right: Aguero, Negredo, Toure, Silva, Dzeko, Kompany, and the rest of the best Emirate oil money can buy, many of whom would have just finished their respective World Cup national team duties, are coming to Minneapolis. Talk about a huge score for our Minnesota football community. MNU got in on the action, too, and set up a double header playing an NASL match immediately following the current Premier League and Superleague (Greece) Champions.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that with the growing popularity of the sport, MNU consistently playing well in the NASL, and fans filling more space in the stands, there have been plenty of rumors surrounding the next phase of the team. A move into MLS has been thrown around for a few years and the Vikings stadium deal (glad we voted on that one…wait…) wrote in a clause for an MLS team. What has started to heat up recently, which I could not have predicted even 5 years ago, is a battle of our Minnesota billionaires (and Bond villains) Zygi Wilf of the Vikings and Jim Pohlad of the Twins as to who may get the team, who may build a new stadium (this again!?!), and so on. Similar to our friends in Green Bay, when Swansea City comes to town, they bring with them the only partially publicly owned team in the Premier League. It’s my hope we can get some management pointers from them and continue to see MNU as the people’s team of our Twin Cities. So before they blow up and become household names, keep your football momentum moving forward and get out and see the Loons so you can tell folks you got to see that Miguel Ibarra goal back in the day.