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Minnesota Stars Turn Tables on Unsuspecting Fans

2012 October 25
by Brian Quarstad

Minnesota Stars prove once again their special relationship with fanbase.

The team that dedicated their 2012 away uniform to their fans and just days ago announced that the players themselves would buy a ticket for any Minnesota Stars supporter who travels to St. Petersburg, Florida for the 2nd leg of the NASL Championship, have once again proven why they have such a special relationship with their fans.

One of the special things about Division 1 and 2 pro soccer in the U.S. and Canada is the “up close and personal” relationship supporters and players have. The access to players is unprecedented in pro sports and this writer has been saying for years it’s exactly how leagues like the NASL and USL PRO need to be marketing their teams. It seems the Minnesota Stars, under the management of Djorn Buchholz, has empowered people like player/assistant coach/marketer Kevin Friedland who have cultivated that relationship and shown time and again why the organization has the best player-fan relationship in lower level soccer in the US.

On Sunday, the day after the Minnesota Stars defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 in the first leg of the NASL Championship match in Blaine, Minn., a group of the Stars players decided to turn the table on some unsuspecting fans who were there supporting the team on Saturday night and celebrating with them afterwards at the post match party at Bricks in Blaine. It seems this group of supporters told the Stars that they were playing in their own championship match on Sunday, albeit a rec-league final. In this video, the Stars’ Kevin Friedland tells the rest of this fantastic story.

20 Responses
  1. John permalink
    October 25, 2012

    just imagine if the stars were owned by an owner with the financial capabilities like ottawa, scorpions, or cosmos

    they will be like the sounders

    i say when it comes to fanbase and interaction
    no one has done it better than the stars, scorpions, and orlando

    please NASL keep the stars

  2. Fotbalist permalink
    October 25, 2012

    This absolutely FANTASTIC. Kevin Friedland is a genius with lots of heart. I’m truly impressed. Thanks Stars FC.

  3. Jim Oliver permalink
    October 25, 2012

    Kevin Friedland is a genius. Any man who says otherwise doesn’t like sports.

  4. yankiboy permalink
    October 25, 2012

    @John: I love you, Bro but I have gotta ask you about your “financial capabilities of Ottawa” statement.

    Ottawa has got PDL and W-League clubs. Besides doing that well (which deserves a lot of credit) they haven’t shown me much more than that other than needing 3 years to actually

    3 freaking years!?!??

    Maybe they should start using those “financial capabilities” before we all grow old.

  5. yankiboy permalink
    October 25, 2012

    Sometimes it’s the “little things” that help develop relationships. The Minnesota Stars organization really seem to “get it”…

  6. Fotbalist permalink
    October 25, 2012

    While I don’t have specific info on the financial capabilities of the NASL enterprise in Ottawa, I believe they have a great foundation. The NASL expansion has been very well received by the city and provincial governments. In addition to the PDL & W-League, the Ottawa region has a semi-pro team nearby, Kingston FC, playing in the Canadian Soccer League. Also, they have a very strong local league, huge youth league for both outdoor and futsal. The soccer culture is top notch. I believe they will do very well in terms of fan support which will fuel the incoming finances.

    While 3 years might seem like a long time, it appears to be more common. Cosmos has been making a buzz about 3 years before they start playing. Loudoun County will have been in the works for similar time span before it takes it to the pitch. Not to mention,…..evvvveeeeerrrrryyyything takes longer in Canada. lol

  7. October 25, 2012

    From what I have recently learned — and not that john knew this because I don’t think he did — but the Ottawa group has a minority partner who owns the PDL and W-League team. From what I was told and if I got the story correct, the ownership groups majority owner also owns a large chunk of Millwall and yes, they do have a lot of money. The Ottawa story and Landsdowne is a fascinating one and a story I hope to tell in the near future.

  8. October 25, 2012

    By the way, another fascinating tidbit I picked up on a NPR story on the election and Loudoun County the other day: not only is the county an extremly fast growing one, it is also the richest county per capita in the US.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-income_counties_in_the_United_States

  9. October 25, 2012

    ok, ok. great stuff about Ottawa, etc. But let’s talk about the Stars!!

    Go Stars!! Whoooo!!! Yeah!!!!

    Can’t wait to buy my “2012 NASL Champions” gear. And it DAMN WELL better go on sale after they win.

  10. Soccer Boy permalink
    October 25, 2012

    Great story and typical for an organization filled with players who care about the fans. Manny has filled the team with players who are here to play soccer, work hard and leave their egos in check. Way to go Stars!

  11. GregX permalink
    October 25, 2012

    I love this team more and more every day.

  12. Mark Kulda permalink
    October 26, 2012

    What a classy thing to do.

  13. Gerry Wittmann permalink
    October 26, 2012

    What a cool story…. thanks BQ for sharing this. Super props to Kevin Friedland and the guys for …just being the guys they are.

    This piece merits lottsa tweets folks !!!

  14. Dan permalink
    October 26, 2012

    Would someone just give the Stars a bunch of money please!!!!! Get it sorted, this is what footy is all about.

  15. Dillon Y permalink
    October 26, 2012

    I was playing on a field across from them and it was quite the spectical. It was pretty cool to see! Kudos to KF and the Stars.

  16. taly permalink
    October 26, 2012

    The Stars should at least stay alive in division 3 if NASL does not work out.

  17. October 26, 2012

    Taly, how does that work? They have no owner. You still have to find an owner and you are then playing as the only midwestern team in a primarily East Coast regional league which is trying to save money by being a (here we go again) regional league. Sorry my man, but at this point and time that makes absolutely no sense. If the Stars go away and if they found new ownership and if the USL expanded into the midwest, then maybe, just maybe that works. But that sir is an awful lot of maybes.

  18. John permalink
    October 26, 2012

    no
    Stars is either a NASL team or future MLS expansion

    truth is NASL needs good publicity and watching their soon to be 2 time champion either fold or get relegated to division 3 is not a good look

    truth is the so called local owner should buy it because once he gets the stars
    wilf and the viking organization won’t be able to compete

  19. yankiboy permalink
    October 27, 2012

    John, it only it were so simple. Utah Blitzz won a championship and then folded when it was clear that MLS was coming to town. Heck, they won 2 championships in 4 years and they folded.

    Most of a here are hoping and some of us are even praying that does NOT happen to the Stars but it’s not as easy as you think it is for a lower division club–even one considered successful to compete with an MLS club.

    On the podcast I once ask Commisioner Downs about why the NASL would even invest time in looking for a potential owner in Baltimore when it is common knowledge that DC United is more than willing to relocate to Baltimore if the Maryland Stadium Authority can provide them a new home in downtown B’more.

    The best helmsman that lower division soccer in this country has ever had (in my opinion) basically answered that the league still thought that Baltimore was an excellent potential market for the NASL.

    I’m thinking “All of the bad blood and burned bridges in the wake of Crystal Palace Baltimore aside–Who the hell in their right mind would invest ca$h into bringing an NASL or USLPro club to Baltimore when everyone knows that DC United is seriously looking for relocate to Charm City if they can’t get a stadium deal done in DC ?!?!???”

    Even if I found the winning Powerball lottery ticket and was $50 million richer, my wife wouldn’t approve me buying into the NASL or USLPro until we knew without a shadow of a doubt how things were going to shake out with DC.

  20. Bart permalink
    October 27, 2012

    @yankiboy

    Actually, your wife may allow you to buy an NASL expansion team. If rumor is correct (and where there is smoke there is general some form of fire), just be like one of the recent expansion teams and have NASL/Traffic pay you (with US dollars) to join for PR purposes.

    You win, because your family makes money, does not risk anything and your wife has more moolah to buy a fancy dress for the next astrological charity in the cosmos.

    NASL wins because they can post another icon on their website as they claim to have yet another willing, qualified and ready to go expansion team to start no later than 2014……

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