The Minnesota United will transition into Major League Soccer without its longtime play-by-play announcer Chris Lidholm.
Lidholm, who has called games for the soccer club for more than two decades, tweeted Tuesday “24 years was a great run. Saddened not to continue with United into MLS in 2017. I wish the team well. Thank you fans, players and team.”
Lidholm told the Star Tribune Wednesday he was one of a few finalists for the job, but received a phone call Tuesday delivering news the team decided to go in a different direction. He was told “the new guy was a little bit stronger than I was. That was the difference."
“I had a great 24 years and have to regrets,” he added. “I loved every moment of my 24 years and wish the new crew the best of luck.”
The Twin Cities soccer community was also saddened to learn they would no longer hear the voice they had become so familiar with. Lidholm’s tweet had nearly 150 likes by Wednesday morning and nearly 100 replies.
Much of the response thanked Lidholm for his service, while others were disappointed the United would not keep him on board.
“It’s been a pleasure listening to you call our games, sir. Thank you,” Adam @MNorthStar82 tweeted.
Former United player Neil Hlavaty tweeted “One of the most respected commentators in the country. Job well done, Chris!”
Brett S. tweeted “Thanks, Chris. Your contributions were ever present in my growing soccer fandom over the past 6 yrs. Best of luck.
“Ugh, there better be a good reason for this @MNUFC – he will always be the voice of MN soccer,” @tommerdahl tweeted.
Kate Sophia tweeted, “This makes me sad. I mean, you almost convinced me to go to Which ‘Wich. All the best to you.”
One of Lidholm’s signature calls included a promo for the sandwich shop Which Wich before each corner kick. One fan requested “one more corner kick” call and Lidholm tweeted the script he would read.
Another signature call was yelling “Ramirez” after Christian Ramirez’s many goals. Ramirez tweeted “Sad to hear Chris! Thanks for all the calls throughout the years! Will also continue to hear them!”
Lidholm was recruited for the job by former Minnesota Thunder coach Buzz Lagos in the winter of 1993. Lidholm was a broadcast major at the Brown Institute, now Brown College, and a former elite youth soccer player.
Lidholm remembered Lagos called and said, “ ‘Chris, we’d like to put Thunder games on TV and I’d love to have you call the games.’ “
Lidholm was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support he received on social media after his announcement. He individually thanked each fan that responded.
“I was very humbled and a little surprised by the outpouring of the fans,” he said. “It was really kind of touching that so many people thought so highly of me. It was overwhelming.”
Lidholm, who turns 45 later this month, also works behind the scenes in various broadcasting jobs and hopes to continue calling soccer games in the Twin Cities or in another city.