MLS add Minnesota as expansion team for 2018

Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:47pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - Minnesota United were introduced as the newest Major League Soccer team on Wednesday with plans to begin play in the rapidly growing league in 2018.

The club, which was founded in 2010 and currently plays in the second-tier North American Soccer League, was officially welcomed to MLS during a news conference attended by a rowdy group of United supporters.

"We have a plan here that we believe in," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said during a news conference at Target Field, home of Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins. "A plan that we believe will take the sport to a higher level."

Coupled with already-announced expansion plans for Atlanta and the recreation of the team formerly known as Chivas USA in Los Angeles, Minnesota will be the 23rd franchise in MLS.

MLS grew to 20 clubs this season with Orlando City and New York City FC both joining the league.

Garber paid tribute to Minnesota's "rich tradition of supporting soccer at all levels" and the league's presentation included images from the 1970's when the Minnesota Kicks were part of the NASL.

Led by United owner Bill McGuire, a former chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, the new MLS team's ownership group will also include Glen Taylor, the owner of the National Basketball Association's Minnesota Timberwolves and Jim Pohlad, owner of MLB's Minnesota Twins.

United's bid beat out competition from the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings, whose owner wanted a soccer team resident in their planned new stadium.   Continued...