Burnsville, Apple Valley soccer clubs merge

Will keep sport robust locally, organizers say

The July 1 merger of two south metro youth soccer clubs comes down to quantity and quality.

The Burnsville Fire and Apple Valley-based Valley United clubs have fewer players than they did years ago. Merging will keep the sport robust locally, said Andy McIntosh, president of the newly named BV United club.

That’s especially important now that Minnesota has a Major League Soccer team setting an example for younger players, McIntosh said. The arrival of the Minnesota United in 2015 has raised the bar at all levels of the game.

“I think that mergers and consolidations like this will probably continue to happen as clubs try to figure out how best to serve their members, meaning training them, developing them and offering quality programming,” said McIntosh, a Burnsville resident who was president of Valley United before the merger.

“The quality of youth soccer will continue to rise because of Minnesota United’s presence,” he said.

The larger, merged club will be better able than its predecessors to fill team rosters at all competitive levels and attract and retain good coaches, McIntosh said.

“It allows us to better utilize resources, everything from volunteers to fields to indoor spaces,” he added. “And it allows us to have a structure that is stable as volunteer boards turn over.”

Neither club was at risk of dissolving, though demographics were working against them, according to McIntosh.

“I don’t know that I could quantify it, but decades ago, Burnsville and Apple Valley had much larger youth soccer-playing populations as they were growing young communities,” he said. “Just demographically, as the two cities have aged, I think that’s impacted participation numbers in soccer and other sports as well.”

He expects BV United’s summer youth traveling program, the club’s largest component, to have 500 to 600 players. Even at 600, BV United would be considered “a smaller metro club,” McIntosh said.

“We’ll also offer fall traveling soccer,” he said. “We’ll offer recreational soccer. We’ll offer summer camps, and we’ll offer different types of indoor winter training.”

Keeping organized soccer affordable to families is another goal of the merger, McIntosh said.

“We primarily anticipate serving kids that will ultimately attend Burnsville High School, Apple Valley High School and Eastview High School, as well as the surrounding communities,” he said.

BV United’s director of coaching is Greg Holker, who had been Burnsville Fire’s coaching director. He is the head men’s coach at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

An information session on BV United will be held Thursday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at the Apple Valley Senior Center, 14601 Hayes Road.

BV United traveling program tryouts begin July 20 and run through early August, McIntosh said.

For more information, visit www.bvunited.org.