A Letter from Dr. Bill McGuire
Dear Minnesota United FC Fans and Supporters,
Saturday night, April 6th, was an important evening for all of us as our new team and its growing legion of fans took the field for the 2013 opening game. There was much to take away from this first game for both our players as well as those of us in charge of making this the finest professional soccer team, fan experience and community asset possible. With that in mind, I want to share some of my own post-game thoughts.
(1) It was an exciting and enjoyable game. That said, you will never hear any of us say we are satisfied with a tie. Our team played reasonably well, but obviously not to its full potential. We had a number of players out with injuries, but such is the way of sports. The season is early, team members remain somewhat new to each other, and I am confident we will dramatically improve with each passing day. This group has all the ingredients of being a very good team.
(2) I was impressed by the energy of our fans, ranging from the excitement voiced around each significant push or defensive stop to the constant enthusiasm (and cheering) coming from the Dark Clouds. Even in the huge expanse of the Metrodome, the emotions were palpable.
(3) The attendance for this first game was gratifying. While not yet at the levels we expect to see in the future, this was a solid start after only a few months of building our organization and team. Not even the cold and wet early spring weather, the ease of sitting home and watching the Final Four basketball tournament, or the Timberwolves game at nearby Target Center kept people away.
(4) I was struck by the outpouring of team support from fans – whether young, older, established or new – around this team and our efforts to keep it here and have it grow as a dynamic force in our community. Hearing the word “thanks” means something; it is humbling, reassuring and wonderful.
(5) Our leading fan supporters group – the Dark Clouds – are simply the best! I can’t say enough about their enthusiasm, energy and creativity. Those puppets were just amazing (I felt like Julie Taymoor and her puppets in the original Lion King, which debuted in Minneapolis years ago, were with us again). We are thankful for their support and leadership in helping all of us have a wonderful and memorable experience.
(6) A big note of thanks goes to all of the people who worked to make this first game a success. The Metrodome folks were helpful, professional and enthusiastic. Our Minnesota United FC staff were integral to making things click, and a gang of volunteers as well as leaders from so many of our various communities were there in force. Seeing folks like Hussein Samatar (head of the African Development Center) and his family huddled under a small tent in the blustery rain while serving up wonderful sambusas, gives all of us an indication of the passion that surrounds this wonderful international game and our own team.
(7) Our hopes for this team to be a force in uniting our diverse communities and fans is already showing its potential. Children, families and organizations from many varied cultures and geographies were present. We saw youth and recreational soccer teams in force, and alongside them parents and friends.
And it was heartwarming to see over 400 kids and their families, most of whom would not have been able to attend, share the experience because of Tix for Tots. The global passion for this sport was on display, and with it the fact that it is a wonderful and affordable experience for everyone.
(8) We had some glitches on our end. The first shipment of our custom scarves failed to arrive on time. We also had fewer styles and colors of the very popular (and widely applauded) shirts and outerwear than is ultimately planned. Both of these issues should be corrected for the next game, and you will be seeing some really great team apparel throughout the season.
Information about the open entry points (gates) at the Metrodome was not obvious to all, so we will address that for future games. And there were definitely problems for people trying to pay their parking tickets in certain garages as they tried to leave the game. While we like seeing crowds at the game, we don’t want them in the form of lines of frustrated people trying to leave after a nice experience.
Our new video crew, armed with state-of-the art equipment and a bevy of cameras, produced a great game broadcast that got rave reviews from across the country. However, we heard that a few folks had trouble navigating to the right place on our website in order to watch the live match. Fortunately, people were quick to jump on the NASL website as an alternative to see the game. We know that there is no substitute for being at the game in person, but we will be improving our site by next game so every fan not able to be with us can easily enjoy the action.
We are also going to seek ways to improve the process by which people get their tickets at the game, whether it be at Will Call or in the new ticket purchase lines. The internet purchase process seems to be working pretty well, but we want to be sure that getting the tickets themselves in your hand is smooth and easy.
As we move ahead, I again want to let you know of our commitment to keep high-quality professional soccer available as a live event in our community; to have it be available and accessible to everyone; and to be supporters of and partners with soccer communities throughout our cities. This is your team. We are here to unite communities with this wonderful sport. Minnesota United FC appreciates your support and trust, and we look forward to seeing you as part of an even bigger crowd at the Metrodome on April 20th at 2:30 in the afternoon when we take the pitch against FC Edmonton. Bring your friends, family and neighbors – they’ll thank you for getting them in on the beginning of something great.
Photo by Ryan Siverson, RySiPhoto.com
Read More Community →