It’s tough to have soccer in Minnesota, but there have been some notable attempts throughout the years. One such attempt is the Minnesota Strikers.
In November 1983, three seasons after the demise of the Minnesota Kicks, the state’s first professional soccer team, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for the 1984 season. The Kicks began Minnesota’s long but struggling soccer legacy in 1976, when the team moved to the Twin Cities from Denver. The team had great success in the NASL, drawing crowds up to 45,000 in its heyday.
After struggling with the same dwindling attendances experienced league-wide, the Kicks folded in 1981, with a record of 104 wins and 70 losses. They made the playoffs all six years of its existence. The Strikers had a similar record, with 107 wins and 97 losses the year it folded. In 1985, the team made the semifinals; in 1986, they made the finals; in 1987, they made division semifinals; and in 1988, they made division finals.
The Strikers were made up of players from both the Fort Lauderdale team and the Kicks. They played one season (1984) in the North American Soccer League (NASL) before the league collapsed, and then moved indoors by joining the Major Indoor Soccer League (MLSL) for four seasons. The Strikers played at the Met Center near Minneapolis during that time, and finally folded after the 1987-1988 season.
Quite a few important players were on the Minnesota Strikers team. As is true for most American soccer teams throughout its history, the Strikers were made up of players from all over the world—from Brazil, Scotland, Croatia, Nigeria, West Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, England, and the U.S. The Brits and the Americans, as expected, made up the majority of the team each year it was in existence. Nine players were on the team all four years as well.