City goalkeeper Matt Elder sat down to talk about his experience with Minneapolis City in his own words:
There are three different types of NPSL soccer players.
The first, college kids looking to keep their form and sharpen their skills heading into a fall season. The second, a stepping stone for players that are hoping to improve and chase a dream of playing at the next level. Last but not least, the third group is the category I fall into: An old guy who has spent his whole life around the game, thrives on competition, and loves to play at a high level while maintaining a social life and a day job.
Being one of the older guys, I take a lot of pride in my experience through college, on professional trials, and with other NPSL clubs.
I try every training session and game day to help my younger teammates understand what it means to be able to play this game, at this level, in front of our fans. It has not been something I take for granted and it has been an honor to wear the captain’s arm band and lead this team on to the field.
Growing up, my club coach had the best advice, “play as long as you can, at the highest level you can.” Today, that is exactly what I am doing.
Minneapolis City has offered me the ability to compete next to 25 guys who share my drive, play for a coaching staff that shares my passion, play for the founders of the club who share my vision and play in front of the fans and Minneapolis Citizens that share my love for this club.
Having played a couple years in the NPSL prior to City’s creation, I was accustomed to 6 guys turning up to train with maybe two flat soccer balls per session. The Minneapolis City organization is night and day compared to everything I knew at this level.
It has allowed me to play and train at a high level, surrounded by a group of players and coaches that have the same desire – to win. Being surrounded by this talented group really pushed me to be my best and recover from the broken leg I suffered in the previous season. I went from a broken leg summer of 2015, to Premier League of America Best XI in 2016. This no doubt was a direct correlation with being next to 25 motivated and talented players.
Outside of my teammates, coaching staff, club personal, etc. the fans have been great. Being able to wear the crest in front of 600+ home fans, play for them, and then chug a beer with them after a big win is something special that excites me every time I think about it. It is why when the season ends, I already cannot wait for the start of the next season. We have some of the most dedicated fans in the league, and its proven when they show up in La Crosse on a Wednesday night, or in New York to support us on our Open Cup run.
The older we get, the busier we get, and the more valuable our free time becomes. It is easy for me to continue to dedicate free time to training, traveling, and competing alongside of my brothers due to their commitment, the investment of our founding members, and the dedication of our coaching staff.
Minneapolis City has been one of the best things to happen in my soccer career. It has allowed me to play at a high level well after college, and have fun doing so. I will be involved in this Club even when my playing days are done.