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Our View: Woodbury solidified as soccer town

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It’s no secret that soccer has seen its share of success in Woodbury.

The Woodbury High School girls team brought home state championships in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008 — with four runner-up trophies to boot. The Woodbury boys team was the 2005 runner up and advanced to state four times between 1989 and1999, along with a 2009 appearance.

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Meanwhile, this year’s East Ridge boys team sits atop the state rankings while the Woodbury girls remain among the tops in Minnesota.

All that prep success now has a new addition in Woodbury: the Minnesota United Football Club. The state’s professional soccer team announced last week that it has sought out Woodbury’s Bielenberg Sports Center as its new home and plans to fund a $1.5 addition to the new structure, which is currently under construction.

It’s hard to see this development as anything short of a success for Woodbury — especially for the local soccer community.

As if youth players didn’t already have enough local heroes to look up to, they will now have pros out practicing on the same surface they play on. The addition of the United — which boasts two of Woodbury’s own in players Brian and Brent Kallman — heaps on a layer of prestige to Woodbury’s already established reputation as a soccer community.

It’s safe to say that after the United makes its home here (Bielenberg will be the team’s headquarters and home practice grounds, though not for games) the development will solidify Woodbury as the premier soccer destination in the east metro — if not the entire state.

The heightened presence will likely prove a draw for young families looking for strong athletics, which could help fill the new developments slated for the city’s southern reaches.

Kudos to the city of Woodbury for landing what looks to be a valuable public-private partnership. The soccer club clearly was looking to spread its wings and found an attractive partner in the new Bielenberg Sports Center.

Provided the city’s roadways can handle the added traffic the new sports complex is likely to generate, we are hopeful this latest development leads to a breakaway goal for Woodbury.

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