Minnesota United joins MLS as expansion team

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Major League Soccer executives have awarded Minnesota an expansion franchise, making the Minnesota United FC the newest MLS club.

"It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Minnesota to Major League Soccer," MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced Wednesday. 

The ownership group of the new team includes Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire, the Pohlad family, Glen Taylor, and Wendy Nelson.

"Through snow, rain, ice-coated roads and yearly floods Minnesotans adapt and thrive, it is with that spirit that we are proud to announce we have been awarded the 23rd expansion place in Major League Soccer," Minnesota United FC said in a press release. "Minnesota will be the blueprint for North American dominance in soccer. The North is rising. A new era of Minnesota sports starts here."

MLS currently consists of 20 teams and its goal is to expand to 24 teams by 2020. The league plans to add its 21st and 22nd teams in 2017 -- an Atlanta MLS team and a relaunched Los Angeles team. Minnesota will join the league in the beginning of 2018. 

A couple weeks ago, the league confirmed that it was in "advanced discussions" with representatives from Minnesota United FC, but the formal announcement wasn't made until Wednesday.

"The project was about taking a team that has deep roots here and saving it," Garber said.

The odds of McGuire getting significant public help for a soccer-only stadium are pretty low. Gov. Mark Dayton has made statements that he would close the door on any state financial aid for the outdoor soccer stadium that McGuire wants to build near the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

"I congratulate [McGuire's group] on an apparent success bringing a team to Minnesota," Gov. Dayton said. "And I think if they are doing so, they need to fully realize that this is something they're going to have to pay for out of their own private resources."

The outdoor stadium could reportedly cost between $100 and $150 million. It's unknown what the exact date of completion is.