Law School grad finds niche with pro soccer

Sam Kraemer

After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland in 2005, Nick Rogers had his heart set on law school.
 
The University of Minnesota Law School was the only institution out of the handful he applied to that accepted him, and Rogers ended up in Minneapolis.
 
He never imagined a career in sports, but he’s now one of the driving forces behind the resurgence of soccer in Minnesota.
 
Rogers, 32, is the club president for Minnesota United. He helped former UnitedHealth Group CEO Dr. Bill McGuire purchase the then-Minnesota Stars soccer franchise in late 2012. The duo rebranded the team in 2013.
 
Working as an attorney did not have the hype or energy Rogers thought it would, so he changed paths.
 
“I became a lawyer, then figured out I didn’t like being a lawyer that much,” Rogers said. “This just came along; I grabbed it with both hands and held on tight.”
 
As club president, Rogers oversees the day-to-day operations of Minnesota United on both the soccer and business sides of the club.
Rogers has always had a passion for soccer. Aside from Minnesota United, he is a big supporter of Liverpool Football Club, one of the world’s top club teams based in England.
 
His admiration for Liverpool made him believe high-quality soccer was possible in the U.S.
 
“You don’t need to have a lot of money to build a team,” he said. “It’s been a tremendously fun experience for me, while at the same time it’s been a stressful learning experience.”
 
Since new ownership took over, Minnesota United has become a larger player in the Twin Cities’ professional sports landscape.
 
Attendance has increased dramatically, Rogers said, while United garners more attention in the state and beyond.
 
“I go to a lot of Timberwolves games, and it’s amazing how many people will come up to me and thank me,” Rogers said. “I can’t take all the credit —  Dr. McGuire deserves it. People come up to him all the time and thank him for saving pro soccer here.”
 
Last month, the club announced it will be leaving the North American Soccer League to join Major League Soccer starting in the 2018 season.
 
MLS commissioner Don Garber credited Rogers and the club’s leadership at a press conference announcing United’s admittance into the league.
 
“They have a grand vision to capture all of the values of the beautiful game and take it to the highest possible level in this state,” Garber told reporters at the press conference.
 
While the league acknowledged the club’s growth, United head coach Manny Lagos said he’s appreciative of Rogers’ commitment to the team.
 
“I think Nick is an important part of keeping the legacy of this club,” Lagos said. “He’s a very talented guy who has a passion for soccer. … He and our front office have really helped us become more relevant.”
 
Despite taking a huge step forward into a more competitive league, the promotion won’t alter Rogers’ duties.
 
“At the end of the day, not a lot changes,” he said. “You’re still selling tickets. You’re still selling sponsorships. … It’s still sort of business as usual.”