Gov. Dayton declares March 12 as Soccer in Minnesota Day

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Gov. Mark Dayton has declared Sunday, March 12 to be “Soccer in Minnesota Day” in honor of Minnesota United FC’s first ever home game against Atlanta United FC.

Minnesota soccer fans are encouraged to wear Minnesota United colors, blue and black, on Sunday to celebrate the day, the governor’s office says.

Mayor Chris Coleman has also declared March 12 as “Minnesota United FC Day” in St. Paul. St. Paul will be the official home of the Minnesota United once their stadium in the Snelling-Midway neighborhood is completed in 2018.

Minnesota hasn't had a top-tier professional soccer team in more than 30 years. The last major league team to play in the state was the Minnesota Kicks, who played in the North American Soccer League, the top-level professional league at the time, from 1976 to 1981. Minnesota United is one of two expansion franchises joining Major League Soccer for the 2017 season.

The team started their inaugural campaign last week, falling 1-5 to the Portland Timbers. The Loons hope to rebound on Sunday when they face Atlanta, the other MLS first-year expansion, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Minnesota United vs. Atlanta United, Sunday, March 12, 4 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium