We pride ourselves on being a community club. By local people, for local people. The Athletic Bilbao of The North.

What does that mean?

Athletic Bilbao famously only fields Basque players and, in that line, we field only Minnesotan players.

Well, what does it mean to be Minnesotan? That is a charged question in the current climate but one that we have a strong point of view on: a Minnesotan is simply someone who calls themselves Minnesotan.

Birth certificate doesn’t come into it. Doesn’t matter how long you have lived here. Race, class, gender or propensity to say “uff da” is irrelevant.

Club management reflects this point of view. Sarah Schreier is Minnesota born and bred. Dan Hoedeman was born in Minnesota, moved away, moved back, moved away, moved back and now has three Minnesota-born kids. Jon Bisswurm moved here for a job, stayed, and now has his own Minnesota-born kid. Each is a Minnesotan, each as Minnesotan as the other.

We believe in the power of unity, the essential need for the community to look at itself as one group, supporting each other and in this together.

For us, to be Minnesotan is simply to think of yourself as Minnesotan and, specifically in this case, to want to live here separately from wanting to play soccer.

In other words, we don’t import players.

Other teams in our conference and our league do. They scour the country for top college players, arrange housing and coaching jobs, and build their teams that way. We could have gone that way too–over a hundred college and foreign players reached out to us before the season to try to play with City.

We went our own way.

We are committed to developing, supporting and succeeding with Minnesota players, the kids in our own backyard, because a local club should be for local people.

So we have guys like Isaac Friendt who is Minnesota born and bred. Guys like Martin Browne who moved here as a kid and stayed. Guys like Tim Wills who came here for college, got a job here after college and doesn’t look like leaving. They’re all Minnesotan, just like club management, just like our fans.

Importantly, they are here in Minnesota not to play soccer with Minneapolis City but because they want to be here in Minnesota. They are the players that qualify as Minnesotan. They are the players we exist to serve.

They are what makes us the Athletic Bilbao of The North.