Save the Minnesota Stars

Long-time Vancouver Whitecaps fans will remember seeing the Minnesota Stars at Swangard Stadium, but they need more than just memory. (Matt Boulton, via Flickr)

This article is not strictly related to Canadian soccer but bear with me.

The Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League are in trouble. The team is struggling for ownership and is currently the responsibility of the other seven clubs in the league. There seems to be a very real threat that the 2012 season will be their last, ending 22 continuous seasons of second-division professional soccer in Blaine, Minnesota dating back to the storied old Minnesota Thunder.

It's a fate the Stars don't deserve. Despite the uncertainties of league ownership, they've drawn a respectable 2,506 fans per game[1] to the National Sports Center. The team is defending NASL champion and on track for another playoff appearance in 2012. They've got the fans and the success to hang with anybody in the league; the fear is that, with the New York Cosmos on their way, the NASL will drop the Stars. They're also, from a Canadian perspective, great rivals of FC Edmonton.

I'm all for letting failed teams go gently into that good night, but the Stars are not one of them. They have a fine stadium, quality fans, and draw upon a rich Blaine soccer heritage. They only want ownership, that old bugbear of the second division. But this isn't AC St. Louis, and the Stars deserve more.

The Dark Clouds, supporters group of the Stars, will be taking signatures for a petition to keep the Stars alive at the next two home games. If you're in the Blaine area, swing by. It's a lovely park and a good team, and needs all the support it can get.

[1] — Not counting their season home opener at the Metrodome, which drew 8,693.

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