2023 Minnesota Super Cup Preview

This Friday night a brand new tournament will kick off when Minneapolis City SC hosts Minnesota United FC’s U19 Academy side at Edor Nelson Field in Minneapolis. Six clubs representing four different leagues will make up the field for the competition’s first season of play in 2023.

The MNSC isn’t a unique idea, I feel versions of it have been talked about for years.
This version grew out of the idea of bringing the fractured pre-professional leagues in Minnesota together in meaningful competition, something more that friendlies or closed door matches.
A competition that would hopefully excite the clubs, players, and supporters, bringing more energy and growth to the already vibrant Minnesota soccer community.
– Jon Martinson on the creation of the Minnesota Super Cup

The 2023 format of the Minnesota Super Cup will see the six teams broken up into two groups of three, with each team playing the others once in the group stage. Group A will consist of Duluth FC (NPSL), Minneapolis City SC (USL2), and MNUFC U19 Academy (MLS Next), while Group B is made up of Med City FC (NPSL), St. Croix Legends (USL2), and Vlora FC (UPSL). Following the group stage the top two teams in each group will qualify for the semi-finals to be played July 21-23, the semi-final winners will advance to the Minnesota Super Cup Final to be held at Macalester Stadium in St. Paul on July 29th.

The Minnesota Super Cup first season will see some very notable and unique first time matches, a short lived derby revived (in a way), and a bitter rivalry continue. Group B is entirely made up of first time matches as the three sides have never faced any team in the group in competitive play. Group A on the other hand has a little bit of everything, the tournament opening match between Minneapolis City SC and MNUFC U19 will see the Crows face a Loons side in competitive play for the first time since the 2016 Premier League of America season. The second group match and fourth match overall will pit Duluth FC against an MNUFC side for the first time in club history. Rounding out Group A and the fifth match overall, a bitter rivalry will continue with Minneapolis City SC hosting Duluth FC as the only match of 2023 between the Crows and BlueGreens.

The MNSC is not a one and done tournament. Like I previously mentioned this is being built to be a long term, cornerstone event for Minnesota soccer.

We are obviously very focused on this summer, but we do have a number of initiatives in progress. For example, we are in the process of finalizing the entry rules for the 2024 tournament. Clubs eligibility for the MNSC will be based on their league performances much like Champions League. Look for more details on that soon.

My goal for the tournament is to create a platform to showcase Minnesota soccer talent, from clubs, to players, to referees, while fostering community and support for that talent. (And maybe starting a few good rivalries at the same time).
– Jon Martinson on the Minnesota Super Cup going forward

In 2024 the Minnesota Super Cup will see a format change, expanding to eight clubs from the present six. The top two finishing Minnesota based clubs in both USL League Two and NPSL will gain entry to the tournament. The other four sides entering will be the top finishing UPSL, MLS Next, and MASL Division 1 sides from Minnesota along with a single open qualifying team. The open qualifying path for the 2024 MNSC is open to all Minnesota based “pre-professional clubs that meet the minimum standards for entry into the competition” and will have a playing window of August 1st, 2023 to March 1st, 2024.

Minneapolis City SC will stream the opening Minnesota Super Cup match on Eleven Sports. For more MNUFC centric Minnesota Super Cup coverage you can head over to Northland Soccer Journal to read the preview on the U19’s in the tournament.