These days, it seems as if a fortnight can’t pass without Major League Soccer announcing a new franchise to partake in all of its single entity splendor. New York City FC and Orlando City joined this year. Los Angeles Football Club is officially a thing. And today, the North American Soccer League’s Minnesota United is now officially the 23rd MLS team.
Earlier this morning, in Minneapolis, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Minnesota United held a press conference (hosted wonderfully by Fox Sports’ Rob Stone) marking the occasion. Celebration was in the air. Sure, the club still has the requisite logistics to work out — e.g., finalizing downtown stadium plans — but if everything goes according to schedule, the team is slated to join the league in 2018.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for the Twin Cities, a region with a long soccer history and a rich soccer culture. But it’s hard to ignore what the parties left on the table: a missed opportunity to bring in some real star power. MLS should have required Minnesota United to get Minneapolis native Prince to join the ownership group before it agreed to allow the club to join the league.
Would a partnership with the Twin Cities music icon have been a stretch? Sure. But who would’ve thought that by 2015, MLS would be on track to have a 68-team league by March 2016? Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
This is what MLS and Minnesota United missed out on by not pursing a deal with Prince:
1. Doves released from the tunnel as players enter the field
Doves, particularly crying doves, are an integral part of Minnesota history. When most people think of Minnesota they think of Gophers, or Wells Fargo bank, or Target, or Kirby Pucket, or Al Franken, or Michele Bachman’s husband. But doves are really the symbolic heartbeat of the land of 10,000 lakes, ever since Prince and the Revolution released “When the Doves Cry” on Purple Rain back in 1984.
Prince probably would make Minnesota United release doves before the players left the tunnel before each game as a tribute to Prince and to freedom. Everyone would be so moved that they’d renew their season tickets every week. Missed opportunity.
2. Raining purple confetti with every goal
Prince loves purple. You love purple. Purple rain after every goal in Minneapolis would have to happen. This would be non-negotiable and would never get old. Sorry, Orlando City.
3. ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ playing after games
I’d actually prefer “Controversy” or one of his slower, more sensual songs, purely for the awkwardness, but “Let’s Go Crazy” is probably the most appropriate Prince song to play after a home win. It would sort of resemble how Wisconsin uses House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” except “Let’s Go Crazy” isn’t an awful song that needs to never be played in public.
4. A new one-name female coach every season … “Embrace,” “Reckoning,” and then “Inevitable”
For those of you new to Prince, you may not recognize this woman. This is Apollonia. Many people thought that Apollonia and Prince were “a thing” back in 1983-84, when she co-starred in the movie Purple Rain as Prince’s love interest. There have been conflicting reports. Prince says they were just friends, but come on, now.
Apollonia, who was the one purified in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, joined the Purple Rain cast only two weeks before shooting because Prince’s girlfriend-cum-ex-girlfriend Vanity backed out of the role. You get by now where this is going: Prince had a thing for dating one-named women.
Now imagine a female coach named “Embrace” or “Reckoning” or “Inevitable” or joining Manny Lagos on the Minnesota United sideline. Because that’s definitely what Prince would want. And she would also probably be a dope guitar player or drummer, aside from being the spiritual leader of the team. These are all positives.
5. When Minnesota United needs a bit of a marketing bump, Prince will show them the proper use for a symbol.
Of all of his great achievements, Prince’s greatest may be his decision to shun standard naming conventions in the middle of his life and take on a symbol as his name. This decision came at a pretty strange time during his career. Prince’s profile was changing. His new music wasn’t resonating. There were fewer and fewer reasons to talk about him with every passing day, at least in mainstream culture.
But the symbol thing changed things. Prince did whaaaa?!?! That type of marketing genius would help out any MLS club.
6. Morris Day, stadium announcer
Morris Day is the jelly to Prince’s must more expensive, high-end Whole Foods nut-free peanut butter. The two started playing music together as kids in Minneapolis, and although Day never reached the level of fame Prince achieved, he’s still well known for his lively performances and everyone only wanting him to play “Jungle Love.”
But make no mistake; he’s entertaining as hell and of course you’d want this man to be the voice of your team. Ohwee-owee-oh. Prince could make that happen.