Minnesota Aurora fans organize inclusive pickup soccer: ‘No offseason for this community’

Participants gather for an informal game at the Hamline Park Futsal Court. (FOX 9)

Minnesota Aurora FC's supporters take pride in their inclusivity, creating an environment where everyone feels welcome in the stands, and now, on the futsal court.

A group of Aurora fans has started meeting at the Hamline Park Futsal Court in St. Paul every other Saturday for an informal, all-ages game, where the emphasis is on inclusivity and fun, not competition. The pickup games started as a Twitter joke for a league for "out of shape soccer fans," but have since evolved into something more, under the guiding rule, "Don't be an asshole and everyone is welcome."

For the unaware, futsal is a type of soccer played on a hard surface, like a gym floor or a tennis court.

Event organizer David Zeller, who is part of the leadership of the Red Loons, a Minnesota United supporter group, stated the event was designed to bring people together around their shared love for soccer. The inaugural game on July 8 saw about 20 participants of all ages. The next game is this Saturday, and anyone interested can sign up here

For Emily Peterson of Minneapolis, the game offered a low-pressure opportunity to return to a sport she loves. "I haven’t played since I had a couple of kids, and I wanted a chance to get back into it. And it’s a beautiful day," she said.


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Kat was one of several members of MN Revontulet, the Minnesota Aurora supporters group, who came out to play. "They’re amazing to hang out with at the games. And I wanted to get out and have some fun and move around and meet them," she said.

Temperatures were in the high 80s, and players were encouraged to sub out frequently. "I need a fat boy break," said one of the players, LJ, they waved another participant onto the court. "Most weekends I just sit on my butt most of the time, so it’s good to get out and do something that’s got some activity behind it, and it feels low pressure," they explained.

For Mel Birke, the president of MN Revontulet, the Minnesota Aurora supporters group, the pickup games show the commitment of the supporters to their team and each other.

"We’re all becoming this new family of support and we’re finding things to do outside of even Aurora, giving back to the community and just participating in things together," she said. "We’re so grateful that this is happening in our community and we’re building even a larger ecosystem. There is no off-season to this community because there’s still things that we want to do together."