A few months ago I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Minneapolis City SC business director Sarah Schreier talking about the club, and the move to NPSL among other things.
Ashle Norling: How was the club founded and what is it's history?
Sarah Schreier: Minneapolis City was started as sort of the "next step" for the larger Men's Soccer Clubs in the state, Stegman's Soccer Club. Stegman's was founded by a trio of soccer nerds wanting to create a competitive atmosphere in the men's amateur soccer world, a step up from a typical beer league. In late 2015, they thought starting another team in the highest level of play, focused on local aspiring talent, sounded like fun. And, despite many people advising to wait a year to launch, they got on the internet, networked their tails off, and made this all happen in just a few months.
I joined in on the fun about a year ago. I saw the club's activity on Twitter and the more I poked around a little, the more I liked. It was this cool new thing happening in Minneapolis and as a former player, I felt particularly connected to the club and wanted to be involved. For my day job, I often have to anticipate the unexpected. Without knowing much about what the club's plans were in the season, I recognized that there were probably a slew of unexpected hurdles to overcome. I saw an opportunity to help out with some of the logistical planning for the club (away trips, events, gameday ops, etc) and went with it.
Since then, I've grown into this Business Director role which is still sort of all-encompassing. Part of the beauty of working for a small-time organization is that everyone is willing to do anything to keep this thing afloat. We have to be, or it doesn't work.
It's pretty amazing and incredibly humbling to see where we are at after just one year. Everyone in the club, including our members, fans, players, and partners, are terrific to work with and critical to our success. I'm so proud to be a part of it. And there's something really cool to know you had a direct impact on the success.
Not many people can say "This is MY club" and truly mean it, feel it. For us, we do. It's so much more than just a soccer team. Its our family and our passion, how we spend almost all of our free time, and we're totally bipolar about how much work it is vs. how much fun it is, we lose sleep over it but new members have us group texting at 1 am because we're so fucking excited about sharing all this with another person. It belongs to us. It's OUR club.
AN: With Minneapolis City SC do you have a main supporters group?
SS: We sure do! Our independent supporters group is The Citizens. They're a fun bunch and I'd encourage everyone to check them out! Bring your voices, songs, flags, and tifo. You're in great company. http://www.thecitizenssg.com/
AN: I know that you had played at Les Barnard Field at South High School in 2016, what was the reason for the move to Edor Nelson Field at Augsburg College for 2017?
SS: Stadiums and field space are one of the biggest obstacles we face every year & they're harder to secure than anyone would ever think.
We are super grateful for the folks at South High School for letting us use their field in our inaugural year. The conditions of the field weren't the greatest, but much like our Club as a whole, you learn to love & embrace all the flaws and imperfections -- they build character.
That being said, we are really excited to play at Augsburg this year! The turf field will serve us well in our playing style and you really can't get a better location. We will have pre and post-game parties at The Viking Bar, with drink specials (TBD) and a random deer on the wall. The Citizens will be there as well so it's a great time to get to know that crowd. Tailgating is allowed and encouraged across the street at Murphy Square Park and we'll get some food trucks coming around again (we're taking requests, by the way). The merchandise truck is a big ol' TBD right now but we are hoping to make it happen.
Augsburg staff has been great to work with and we'll make sure we're great guests so we can be invited back next year. RIGHT GUYS?!
AN: You moved from the Premier League of America to the NPSL, what was the reason the move and league change was made?
SS: We loved the PLA and the clubs in it, and learned a lot from each of them. Ultimately, the decision to explore NPSL came from the amount of travel (and their related expenses) and the limited exposure our players would receive in a regional league vs. a national stage.
For comparison, our closest away trip, with the exception of MNU Reserves, was 4 hours away. In the NPSL North Conference, the furthest we will travel will be the same distance, with several teams practically in our backyard.
For our players, one particular highlight about the NPSL is the Player Showcase that the league hosts in tandem with the MLS combine, in which each team can have a couple players attend, if selected. This makes all the difference in the world for aspiring young talent and we'd love to provide that opportunity for them. The NPSL provides a national stage for our players, which means we can attract the best talent.
Best talent --> best on-field product --> higher attendance --> growing the sport in our community --> party emoji because that's what this is all about right?
AN: Last season Minneapolis City had a record of 3 wins, 4 draws, and 3 losses in league play along with 3 wins in Non-League Play. What will the team do to improve upon it's success in 2017?
I'm not sure if you've been paying attention if you have to ask this question. OUR TEAM IS STACKED. I'm kidding, but seriously...
We have a bit of a target on our backs this year as a clear favorite to win the conference and I think to many, we are the team to beat. I think some of the teams in our conference will come ready to challenge us for the title but our guys are ready to ball. They're hungry for it. They can't wait. I'd be scared of us.
Off the field, we're really getting after our community outreach efforts with many things in the works. We are sponsoring The Sanneh Foundation's Gala4Goals, which, if you haven't bought your tickets yet, they're still available! We are also working with the fine folks at Big Brothers Big Sisters Minnesota and Futsal Society (check them out!) on putting together free clinics for kids. This is an important piece of the puzzle for us.
2017 will be a fun year, in a new home, a new league, and some new faces added into the mix. We'll always be the rag-tag group of guys & gals that thought it'd be fun to start a soccer team with no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We'll just be better at it.
If you want to go out and cheer on the Crows they open today against VSLT FC in the Twin Cities Derby at James Griffin Stadium in St. Paul.