After winning State Cup titles in five age categories, Minneapolis United Soccer Club (MU) will send five teams to compete at the U.S. Soccer Midwest Regional Championships in Dayton, Ohio this weekend.
With these wins, MU is considered this year’s most successful soccer club in Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, which is made up of 137 teams in the area.
Sean O’Driscoll, a MU board member, said the accomplishments of these teams reflect the hard work that has gone into developing the 30-year program.
“The success of these five teams is the tip of the iceberg really,” O’Driscoll said. “It’s a culmination of many years of effort. Minneapolis United has been improving its program every year.”
While O’Driscoll said the chances of a MU team advancing to the national competition are slim, one of the club’s objectives is to have teams playing at the national level on a consistent basis.
MU currently serves more than 2,000 are kids and their families, 80 percent of which reside in Southwest Minneapolis. Over the years, MU has grown from 10 to 62 traveling teams and has been improving its coaching and training programs with a winter training program.
O’Driscoll explained that kids who play for MU develop skills, discipline and accountability in a fun and healthy environment. He said soccer provides a social and sporting outlet that keeps them “off the streets” and exposed to positive role models. This year, colleges are scouting several players on the U17 Boys team.
“Bottom line is it’s a healthy lifestyle—a healthy environment—and it’s making sure the kids are occupied during the summer months,” O’Driscoll said.
As Brazil hosts the World Cup this summer, O’Driscoll said the kids have an exciting opportunity to engage in international soccer.
“(Watching the World Cup) is basically a fun experience for the kids to get them more engaged with soccer and engaged with the overall movement to promote soccer within the U.S.,” O’Driscoll said. “It’s probably one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S.”