The United Beat
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OK, so you all know by now it wouldn’t be a blog post from me without some pop culture reference. So listen to this song while you read this, it sets the tone (thanks @The1975):

Guys, the time has come: I’m moving on from covering Minnesota United and taking on a new role on the Star Tribune’s college sports team. You might have noticed I’ve been covering a lot of Gophers hockey recently, and I’m also working on some enterprise stories that might interest you in the coming months. Jerry Zgoda, our former Timberwolves writer, fully takes over the United beat starting now. You’ve already seen his byline around the beat, I’m sure, and he’ll be an awesome addition (I think the team’s front office already appreciates how much basketball he can talk).

Now, most beat writers probably don’t do some big, sappy blog post when they change assignments. And I’m not doing this as some self-indulgent thing. I know you guys are going to have such a fantastic Year Three and Beyond without me (though, hopefully, I’ll still pop around every now and then). But I’m doing this more as a thank you to my soccer readers and the community at large.

When I moved back to Minnesota almost two years ago to cover this new MLS team, my first professional beat, at my hometown paper, it was truly a dream scenario that happened way sooner than I expected. I already knew soccer fans in the Twin Cities were a special bunch, and you all only continued to prove that throughout my two seasons covering the team. Through the ups and the downs, this group maintained its funny, appreciative and welcoming attitude. And that’s all I can really ask for as a sports journalist.

Thank you for letting me into your world, sharing your insights and reading my stories. I wrote some of my favorites about this team (I’ll link to a few at the bottom of this post because I am still a narcissist at heart lmao) that I’ll be proud of for a long time to come. I can only hope for a connection like this on any other beats I might cover in the future.

It’s been such a joy covering this team, specifically getting to know the players and their stories. I tweeted something a while back about seeing not only on-field milestones but off-field ones, like engagements, weddings, kids. Life, man! To all the players, thanks for sharing parts of your life with me and the Star Tribune audience.

Even if I’m not covering as much soccer, I still hope you guys stick around and read my stuff or send a tweet (after all, you all do have quite the command of gif culture). I’d miss all the interactions we have, online and in-person, if not.

You can read my old United stories with me here and feel nostalgia, my favorite emotion:

Minnesota United player Collin Martin comes out publicly that he's gay

Helping young cancer patients is personal for Minnesota United goalkeeper Matt Lampson

Transplanted players finding family connections, resources with Loons

Minnesota is home away from home for several United FC soccer players

Several Loons players partake in pre-match shave and a haircut

And, now, for one last reference, our collective outro:

Thanks for everything. Let's see what's next.