In the Minnesota Aurora's first year, they came within a goal of winning a title, sold out TCO Stadium, became a national story for becoming a community-owned, women-led success story and won a bunch of awards.

On Sunday at the Mall of America's rotunda, the preprofessional women's soccer team revealed its new kits and roster and drew a large crowd, including a small girl wearing a rainbow skirt over her sweatpants.

Here are five perspectives on why the Aurora matter:

• Dawn Mitchell, a sports anchor at Fox 9, served as emcee of the event, during which she explained how important soccer had been to her growing up in Massachusetts. She was a four-year starter in high school and played at Boston College.

"I wish I had something like this when I was younger," Mitchell said. "This means a lot. We had to get a petition signed. We started the first soccer team at my high school.

"To see all of the people here, and even little boys wearing the jerseys, is so important. In terms of soccer, there is this void for women's players. You play your whole life and you learn accountability and you develop these lifelong friendships with your teammates, and the Aurora gives young women a place to play and grow and a chance to enhance their careers."

• Ani Macy became one of the Aurora's first community co-owners, even getting a tattoo of the Aurora logo before the team had played a game.

"I wanted to be part of something that was going to make a difference in the future of sports in Minnesota — specifically, women's sports," Macy said. "I wanted to get in on the ground level and be able to say that I helped make that happen.

"Last year was absolutely phenomenal. It was a little heartbreaking, to lose the final, but we made it — to be a part of something that this community built, to show everyone that it can happen, that there's enough of a want and a need out there, that all you have to do is get the word out and look at what can happen."

• Dani Foxhoven Young, a former professional player and coach, will be the team's color commentator on television this season. The games will be broadcast on Fox 9 Plus.

"This is so unique and I love being a part of it," Foxhoven Young said. "When it was first developing, I didn't know what to expect. There are a lot of cities that don't have a community that wants to get behind a women's sports team like this, especially in the past 10 years.

"It's grown and grown and grown, and to see how women's soccer is accepted in the Twin Cities, it's the biggest surprise ever and I love to see it. Last year was the most incredible year to witness. It blew everybody's expectations away, the way this team brought the community out in droves. Even players at the NWSL level were watching what was happening with Minnesota Aurora. This team outdrew some NWSL teams."

• Bayliss Flynn, an Aurora goaltender, is 17. She grew up in Edina and will play for the University of Montana. According to the team, she was the first Minnesota high school athlete to sign an NIL (Name-Image-Likeness) deal, with TruStone Financial.

"It was amazing to see even last year how many people came to this event, how many people bought into this women-led, community-owned team," she said. "This is a launching point and a growth point for me. This is getting me ready for my first college season, and they have so many resources here."

• Midfielder Sophie French was a replacement player for the United States national team. "In Portland, where I'm from, we have a great community feel everywhere, and I wanted something like that. ... To see this team have this much support, that really stuck with me," she said.

"Then, to have this team be women-led and community-owned, that was another key for me. I love to see women supporting women in sports, and empowering women.

"Also, we get to play soccer this summer!"