Soccer season kicks off this week for pair of local clubs
Of all the ways to mark a city’s growth, having not one, but two semi-professional soccer teams is among the most fun. This week, Rochester will pass that milestone as a pair of clubs host their home openers.
Thursday night, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the RCTC Stadium, Med City FC begins its home schedule by taking on the LaCrosse Aris FC.
Then, on Saturday, the brand-new Rochester Football Club (RFC) plays its first-ever home opener from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., also at the RCTC stadium. The team faces off against the Young Starz of South Dakota.
RFC is seeking to carve out a space of its own in the city’s soccer scene by filling its roster with players from around the area. Where Med City FC’s roster is stocked with talent from around the globe, team founder Midhat Mujic says that his team of 26 is made up of players from Rochester, Austin, Byron, and Winona.
“When we started this club, we wanted it to be an opportunity for local players,” said Mujic.
Being part of a pro soccer team means the players’ talents are visible to other colleges and higher-tier pro teams. It’s an effect Mujic, who has sustained a career as a professional soccer player since graduating college, is familiar with. He has played professional ball in Sweden, Finland, Missori, and, in 2015, with the Minnesota United reserve team.
The team he has started isn’t just local, it’s young, too. In fact, it’s the youngest team in the league, according to Mujic. The roster includes a trio of 17 year-olds, two of whom will be seniors in high school next year and six players fresh out of high school. This should not be construed as a lack of talent, though. Kevin Ortiz, a midfielder from Austin, was a finalist for the Class 1A Mr. Minnesota soccer award last fall.
Bryan Lund covers politics and culture for Med City Beat.
Cover photo courtesy Rochester Football Club