Enough Love for L’Etoil du Nord?
Soccer has made a surge in popularity in recent years. So too has the local demand for a representative product on the field, and because of the new agreement to begin construction and planning on a Vikings stadium, Minnesotans are now facing the possibility of entering their own team into the conversation for Major League Soccer glory.
Thanks to the stadium deal, the Minnesota Stars, a current North American Soccer League affiliate (think division 2, or semi-pro), will, in all likelihood, relocate to the brand new venue once it’s been completed.
The Stars have been around for a long time, playing and winning championships in the NASL for years now, with a history spanning back 23 seasons to the team’s original foundation under the now defunct moniker Minnesota Thunder in 1990. However, the combination of a winning history (runners-up this year and champions the year before) and the timely construction of a new Vikings stadium affords them the chance to move into the Major League Soccer ranks.
The question that raises is this: are Minnesotans ready to embrace another professional level club with the Vikings, Twins, Wild and Timberwolves currently hogging the limelight? Before deciding, it’s important to consider the lack of success that each of those teams have had in recent years.
The Twins, though they occupy an amazing new venue, aren’t exactly the Yankees. The Vikings tried out Favre for a bit, but age won out before the team could.
The Timberwolves might finally be returning to their winning ways, but who could forget the years and years of empty seats, post K.G.?
The Wild are perhaps Minnesota’s most promising team after what was an immensely productive offseason in 2012, but the looming NHL lockout means that for now, fans will have to wait patiently before they get to see Zach Parise and Ryan Suter take the Xcel Energy Center ice.
True, another team gives Minnesotans one more reason to be happy, buy jerseys and bandwagon to their hearts content. However, what happens when all the bad luck we’ve experienced in this great northern state turns good?
Eventually, the NHL lockout will end, and the Wild should win a few games. The Timberwolves look to be organizing a dynasty in the making, and the Vikings are finally making Minnesota football watchable again. The Twins… well, that pill might still be too sour to swallow for now, but you get the idea. They will all win eventually. That’s the nature of the beast- almost no one is terrible forever (ala the Chicago Cubs, potentially the Charlotte Bobcats).
Could the Stars sustain a loyal fan base and put butts in the seats? Obviously that’s a long way off with the stadium still nowhere near completion. It’s important to remember, though, that professional teams don’t grow on trees. Make sure that you have enough love to keep them here before you go all in on “L’etoile du Nord.”