Under the proposal, the team would use the extra space for locker rooms and office space and showers, and also rent space at the field house once the $22 million project is complete.
The team's games will still be held at the National Sports Center in Blaine, said Nicholas Rogers,
The news was announced at Wednesday night's City Council workshop. No formal action was taken, but council members seemed to favor the idea. (Councilwoman Julie Ohs was absent.)
The extra space is slated to go on the side of the field house with the "eyebrow" design element, which will be expanded, Councilman Christopher Burns noted.
Also, an existing outdoor soccer field at the Bielenberg Sports Center will be dedicated to the North American Soccer League team.
The soccer team will likely rent the facility during non-peak hours, Rogers said.
Under the proposed agreement, the Minnesota United FC would act as the "agent" in terms of securing naming rights or future sponsorships for the overall facility, bringing a level of expertise the city doesn't have, City Administrator Clint Gridley said.
The facility's name won't change, he said, but the team would help with finding sponsors for signage or fields or groups of fields.
Minnesota United FC and the City of Woodbury today announced a partnership to make the 320-acre Bielenberg Sports Center the Official Training Facility for the professional soccer club, beginning in 2014.
“We are thrilled about our new partnership with the City of Woodbury to make the Bielenberg Sports Center the new training home of Minnesota United FC,” said United President Nick Rogers. “This facility will give athletes, both amateur and professional, a special opportunity to be a part of a first class facility. Providing our players with a top training facility is crucial for our success and this partnership is another great step for us as we continue to build our organization on and off the field.”
The new facility will include a 7,500 sq. ft. training center for the players and coaches (which will be funded by the team) connected to a new 120,000 sq. ft. indoor field house with a full-sized turf soccer field that can also serve as a year-round surface for other youth sports including football, lacrosse, baseball and softball. In addition, a restaurant and catering area to support parties using the complex will be part of the 60 ft. tall pavilion. Also included in the new construction by Woodbury are an outdoor ice arena and entrance pavilion for this building and two existing indoor ice rinks. The larger complex also has 18 grass soccer fields and 18 baseball/softball fields.
In speaking about this new partnership, Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens noted the shared vision of the City and the club to support and encourage sports among all people as a way to healthier living through exercise, as well as an opportunity for participation in programs that help promote and foster camaraderie, commitment and personal development and enjoyment. She said, “We view this as a unique way to work with professional athletes from throughout America and the world in order to share the benefits of the world’s most popular sport. We are creating a great facility for our community, the region, and amateur athletes and their families. Minnesota United will help us draw attention to what Bielenberg Sports Center has to offer and show how it can improve our personal lives.”
Minnesota United FC Head Coach and Minnesota native, Manny Lagos, who was a member of the U.S. National and Olympic soccer team, added: “This is an exciting day for our organization and soccer in Minnesota as we partner with the City of Woodbury to create one of the best soccer training facilities in the country.”
The new facilities are the result of a City-sponsored $21.8 million building project at Bielenberg that was begun in June of this year. Kraus-Anderson is handling construction and completion is scheduled for March 2014.
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