The first professional soccer team in the state, the Minnesota Kicks competed in the North American Soccer League (NASL) for six seasons, from 1976 through 1981. The Minnesota Kicks were founded when an investment team fronted by Jack Crocker purchased the Denver Dynamos franchise of the NASL in 1975 and moved it to Minnesota for the 1976 soccer season. The team held its games at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Kicks also played indoor soccer for two seasons starting in 1979. The team’s indoor games took place at the Met Center in Bloomington.
The Minnesota Kicks were successful during their six-season run, winning 104 games and losing 70 for a winning percentage of .598. The team scored a total of 352 goals and allowed its opponents to score 273 during that stretch. The Kicks won four consecutive division championships beginning with their inaugural season in 1976. In their two seasons of indoor soccer, the Kicks won 20 games and lost 10 for a winning percentage of .667. The team had 168 goals scored and 125 goals allowed during their indoor seasons.
Patrick Ntsoelengoe and Alan Willey, who both were later inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame, were among the most notable players to compete for the Kicks. Ron Futcher, like Willey, played for the Kicks in all six of their seasons. Willey, Futcher and Ntsoelengoe finished their careers as the third, fourth and fifth all-time leading scorers, respectively, in the North American Soccer League.
Freddie Goodwin was the team’s first coach. He retained his coaching duties through the 1978 season, when he was replaced by Roy McCrohan. McCrohan stepped down during the 1980 season and Goodwin took over again. The franchise’s owners sold the Kicks in late 1980 to an investment team headed by England’s Ralph Sweet, who took over as coach in 1981.
The Kicks were more successful drawing fans during their early seasons than in their later years. The team’s average attendance was 32,775 in 1977. By 1981, however, average attendance had dropped to 16,605.