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Written In Ice: A History of Pro Soccer in Minnesota - The Strikers

Gregg Thompson and the Minnesota Strikers kept pro soccer in Minnesota when the Kicks fell.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Sporting KC at Minnesota United Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next few weeks, we plan on bringing you a series of articles exploring the history of pro soccer in Minnesota. We plan on looking at the clubs that shaped the landscape and the players that we can never forget. Today, we look at the Minnesota Strikers and the Major Indoor Soccer League.

When the Kicks were forced to fold due to financial difficulties, Minnesota quickly received a team to fill the void. In 1983, the (original) Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced that they would be relocating to Minnesota for the 1984 season to become the Minnesota Strikers.

Clad in yellow and red hooped kits (similar to what Fort Lauderdale wears today), the Strikers played the 17th and final NASL season in the Metrodome. The Strikers would finish the season in 3rd place in the West, sandwiched between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Tulsa Roughnecks. The Strikers just missed the final NASL playoffs. (For the record, the Chicago Sting won Soccer Bowl ‘84 over the Toronto Blizzard.)

Led by familiar names to Minnesota Soccer, Alan Willey and Tino Lettieri, the 1984 NASL season was a welcome sight to fans in the state. The Strikers also added a player that has become a familiar voice these days to soccer fans. The Strikers were quickly led by SiriusXM host and beIN Sport commentator, Ray Hudson.

Following the 1984 season, the NASL folded, but pro soccer in the United States lived on...Just indoors.

Major Indoor Soccer League

The Indoor Minnesota Strikers played at the Met Center, and the team would be runners up in the 1985-86 season. The team was anchored at the back by Tino Lettieri, who would end up ending his career as 2nd place on the All Time Goals Against Average list for the league. Tino would cement his legacy as a Minnesota Soccer legend with the Strikers after being a stalwart for the Kicks as well.

The Strikers would fold after the 1987-88 season after playing four seasons at the Met Center. The Major Indoor Soccer League would fold after 1992 season, but not before insipring similar leagues to be created. (In fact, the original MISL is credited with creating the idea of Arena Football.)

You can read our Written In Ice coverage of the Minnesota Kicks here.

Do you have any memories of the Strikers or the MISL? Share them with us!