Former Trinity men’s soccer standout Aaron Olson ‘12 has a full-time job as a senior internal audit analyst with UnitedHealth Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Olson also puts his soccer skills to use as a member of the semi-pro Minneapolis City SC team, known as the Crows. The squad competes in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), which is often referred to as the “fourth tier” of U.S. professional soccer. Additionally, Olson plays for the amateur Stegman’s SC, based in the Twin Cities and affiliated with Minneapolis City.
The Crows travel extensively throughout the year. Last fall, the team competed in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in North Aurora, Illinois and Pittsford, New York. Minneapolis City played Rival Duluth (MN) FC on July 20 at the NPSL Midwestern Regionals in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having won the North Conference of the league, the top-seeded Crows were edged 2-1 in a double-overtime semifinals battle.
Obviously, there are high costs associated with travel. The team operates on a limited budget and depends on internal and external sources for funding. As an example, team members raised almost $15,000 through a GoFundMe website to compete in the U.S. Open Cup matches.
“Money is always a contentious topic among most teams in the NPSL,” Olson said. “Our players pay marginal dues at the beginning of the season, and the rest of our budget stems primarily from ticket sales and merchandise.”
Players are not paid for their performance, according to Olson. The reason is because a number of team members are college players who need to maintain their amateur status. Still, there are no complaints from Olson, who has been part of Minneapolis City since its first campaign in 2016. The Crows take on some of the most talent-laden teams in the nation, including a scrimmage against the reserves and some starters of Minnesota United of Major League Soccer.
“As a natural-born competitor, there is nothing more satisfying than playing the sport you love at the highest level available to you,” said Olson, a defender for the Crows. “The constant opportunity to measure myself against other players with the same professional aspirations is a privilege.”
Olson earned a bachelor’s degree from Trinity in 2012 in business administration, with a concentration in accounting. He later attended Trinity’s graduate accounting program. Internships followed graduation for nearly two years. Olson became an audit associate with Wipfli LLP in Edina, Minnesota, in December 2015. He landed his current position with UnitedHealth Group in January of this year.
The St. Paul, Minnesota, native was a key member of the Trinity men’s soccer team from 2008-2012, taking a redshirt his first year of competition. Olson earned All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference accolades in the 2011 season. Olson received the team’s Timothy “Tito” Isom Award in 2012. The award is named for the late Tiger player, and “recognizes character and performance, on an off the field.” The recipient of the award is decided by a vote of Trinity’s players.
“My soccer experience at Trinity helped me immensely with my current team,” Olson said. “ I received some of the best technical coaching of my career under a combination of (head coach) Paul McGinlay, (former assistant) Kelly Altman, and (current assistant coach) Edward Cartee. I owe a lot of my progression as a player and person to my experience as a Tiger.”