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Explaining Minnesota United’s “Loons” Nickname

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Minnesota United is represented by the Common Loon, but why is the loon important?

A common loon sitting in the water Common loon. ©DUC

“What’s in a name?”

This quote from the classic William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet discusses the complexities of a name, something that applies to sports teams.

At work recently, someone asked me about my “Minnesota Ducks” shirt. After explaining that it is, in fact, a Loon on my MNUFC shirt, they were confused that loons and ducks are different. They are similar, but NO they are not ducks. Ducks are cool, but not as cool as a loon. So where did the Loons name come from?

The Common Loon has been the state bird of Minnesota ever since 1961. During a warm and beautiful Minnesota summer you can find a loon sitting in a lake, hunting for fish and making loud noises in which other loons echo back. The Common Loon represents a fun and free-spirited state. The Common Loon also represents the wilderness of the north, and the love that Minnesotans have for the great outdoors and for life in general.

My friend is a new fan to the team, and there is no better time to join. The first two years in Major League Soccer were fun but rough. Now the Loons are coming off their 3rd win in 5 games. They have a squad of players who love the game of soccer and that the fans resonate with. Whether you have been a fan for years or are just flocking to the Loon bandwagon, there is no better time than now to be a fan.

A common loon with her chick on her back Photo © Daniel and Ginger Poleschook

History of the Minnesota United’s brand as The Loons

The Common Loon officially became the mascot of Minnesota United in 2014. Before that they were known as the Minnesota Stars FC in the North American Soccer League. Minnesota United officially made the move to Major League Soccer in 2017. They retained the Common Loon as the mascot. The crest has a very specific meaning that all Loon fans should know.

  • The blue stripe represents the vast Mississippi river.
  • The grey represents the tough and rugged Iron Range of northern Minnesota.
  • The 11 feathers represent each player on the pitch.
  • The star in the left represents “L’Étoile du Nord,” which is French for the North Star, and the state motto.
  • The Loon represents that state bird of Minnesota.
A picture of the Minnesota United Logo

Very Fun Facts About Common Loons

  • Common Loons are distinctive birds. They are bigger than ducks but smaller than geese. They grow up to 8-12 pounds are known for the black and white feathers, black bill, and beat red eyes.
  • Loons have very recognizable calls. They use 4 different calls for many situations. The most recognizable is the wail that sounds similar to a wolf howl.
  • Loons can fly up to 75 miles an hour. They also “takeoff” by running across the water like an airplane.
  • Loons can dive 250 feet under water to find food and can stay under there for 5 minutes. They like to eat fish, frogs, leeches, crayfish and insects.
  • The Common Loon spends its summer in Minnesota, but vacation on the coasts of the United States during the winter. They enjoy the Carolinas and Florida.

Listen to the loon’s wailing call starting at 0:10!