Minnesota United FC sporting director Manny Lagos is arguably the greatest Minnesota-born soccer player ever. After a Major League Soccer and U.S. Men’s National Team career that took him around the world, like many of his Minnesota-born athlete peers, he ended up back in front of his hometown crowd—first as head coach of the United, and now as the team’s sporting director. While the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium is the United's temporary home turf (the team's new St. Paul digs will debut in 2019), it's just one of five local stadiums where you can watch Minnesota-born athletes shine.
Whether you’re heading to a concert, the X-Games or a monster truck rally, the Minnesota Vikings’ new mega-stadium in downtown Minneapolis is the Twin Cities’ newest must-visit destination. During Vikings games, keep your eyes peeled for two Minnesota-born stars, Rochester's cornerback Marcus Sherels, and Detroit Lakes' wide receiver Adam Thielen. Watching a game at U.S. Bank Stadium is a big experience from start to finish: It's nearly twice as big as the already-massive Metrodome, the Vikes' previous stadium, boasts the world's largest set of operable doors (for open air concerts and games) and even features the largest cup holders in the entire NFL.
Home sheet of the Minnesota Wild, the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul is the beating heart of all things hockey in Minnesota—from professional games with the Wild to annual high school tourneys. And thanks to all those high school tournaments, countless Minnesota-born hockey players and future NHL stars first skated at “The X” as hopeful amateurs. If you attend a Wild game this season, you’ll see many of those one-time hopefuls on the rink, including Moorhead’s Matt Cullen, Orono’s Zach Parise and Elk River’s Nate Prosser leading the charge for the hometown team.
When it’s not hosting massive concerts like Garth Brooks’ epic multi-night stand in 2015 or touring shows like Cirque Du Soleil’s "Crystal" (Nov. 9–12), the Target Center is the, eh-hem, center of the Minnesota basketball universe. The downtown Minneapolis arena is home to the Timberwolves in the winter, the Lynx in the summer and hosts seasonal tourneys like the Minnesota High School state basketball tournament every March. With all that action, there’s ample time to watch standout Minnesota-grown ballers like our all-star Lynx guard, Lindsay Whalen (Hutchinson), and Timberwolves players Tyus Jones (Apple Valley) and Cole Aldrich (Bloomington).
Home to Minnesota’s perennial boys of summer, the Minnesota Twins, Target Field is located on the precipice of Minneapolis' North Loop, practically in the shadows of the Target Center. The Twins’ ultra-accessible open-air stadium is home field for three of the best Minnesota-born baseballers ever, St. Paul’s Joe Mauer at first base, Stillwater’s Glenn Perkins in the pen and fellow St. Paulite, Paul Molitor calling the shots from the dugout.
Home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, this open-air stadium in Dinkytown is the most Minnesota-heavy sports venue around. Local standouts playing at “The Bank” this year include Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul) alum and starting quarterback Conor Rhoda, but other notables who’ve taken the field for the Gophers include NFLers Maxx Williams and Eric Decker. In addition to hosting the Golden Gophers, The Bank has also temporarily housed the Minnesota Vikings (2014-15) and, currently, the Minnesota United FC (2017-18) while their respective stadiums were being built.