Evoking An Image of Wings In Flight, This Will Be Miami’s Theatre Of Dreams

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami releases stunning new preview of home stadium at Miami Freedom Park.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, April 9, 2019) – by Kenneth Russo

Miami has always been about the dream. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was no stranger to Miami. He liked Miami because of its promise and opportunity:

“We really look at Miami as the original dream, and try to go back to that notion — the promise of if you’re good and you do right in your life and you work hard, we all end up in Miami.”

Anthony Bourdain, 2015.

Inter Miami CF’s dream was shared in a little more detail today:

The club today released new renderings of its intended permanent home at Miami Freedom Park. Beginning with an image of a great white heron in its native South Florida habitat, the video transforms as the bird takes flight, transforming itself into a sweeping, majestic, laser-lighted canopy of the stadium. One glance makes it clear that this stadium will check all the boxes: the latest (presumably 5G) technology, beautiful sight lines, a massive wall of a supporters’ section, luxury suites, clubs and entertainment options before and after a match.

Prior to the vote in November, in which a majority of Miami city voters approved allowing the city to negotiate a lease of the land needed for building both the stadium and adjacent Miami Freedom Park, the words spoken were “this won’t just be a soccer stadium.” And they were right. This is a transformation, a vision, and the best is yet to come.

They call it “the beautiful game,” and in Miami the game won’t be the only thing they call beautiful. It takes a lot to get this town’s attention, and in Miami, sizzle and sexy are what sells. The new permanent home stadium for Inter Miami CF promises to deliver these attributes to an international fan base that is knowledgeable and passionate for fútbol.

A pure masterpiece, this stadium is the pièce de résistance befitting of MLS’ first global club.

Images courtesy of Inter Miami CF

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Chicago Fire Negotiating Stadium Lease Buyout And Possible Rebrand

Chicago Fire News:

Will There Be An Early Termination Of The Lease at SeatGeek Stadium?

According to the sports publication The Athletic, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations, Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer are in discussions with the Village of Bridgeview to arrive at an early termination of the lease with the municipality, thus allowing the team to move out of SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.

The discussions began last year and are ongoing, and it is unclear what the potential price of the buyout would be.

Some details of the deal first emerged on social media via the Twitter account of a Fire fan, James Vlahakis. From 2013 to 2016, he worked as outside counsel for the Fire while at the firm Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP. His Twitter activity suggests that he is a passionate fan who is sometimes critical of the team’s management.

[Attorney Vlahakis is currently suing the team and president Nelson Rodriguez in an unrelated matter alleging assault, discrimination, conspiracy, and malicious prosecution.]

The Fire Soccer Club are currently in the fourteenth year of a stadium lease that was signed in 2005 and runs through the end of the 2036 season.  An agreement to buyout the lease would allow the Fire to relocate to Soldier Field in downtown Chicago.

The club refused to provide any details, telling The Athletic: “We don’t comment on social media speculation from individuals outside the organization.”

One source indicated that Chicago billionaire and Fire minority owner Joe Mansueto has been instrumental in these negotiations. It is always difficult to obtain any financial date from the respective clubs making up MLS, which is organized as a limited liability company. It is known however that Fire majority owner Andrew Hauptman sold a 49 percent ownership stake to Mansueto for an undisclosed amount in 2018.

Mansueto is an influential player in the Chicago commercial real estate arena, having bought the historic Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago for $255 million last year.

Further evidence of the team’s desire to leave Bridgeview comes from the fact that public records show the Fire have been active in dealings with the City of Chicago in recent months. For example, lobbyist filing data shows that, “Chicago Fire Soccer Holdings, LLC” paid three lobbyists from the firm Fletcher, O’Brien, Kasper & Nottage a total of $72,000 for activities between October 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, seeking administrative action from the mayor’s office regarding “real estate matters.” 

The Fire also declined to comment on the lobbyist activity. 

Bridgeview, Illinois And The Lease

The Village of Bridgeview is located some 24 kilometres (15 miles) outside of the downtown Chicago area, and depending on the time of day and where one is coming from, can be difficult to access. Google Maps, SeatGeek Stadium/@41.831867,-87.8385522.

For this reason, escaping from the lease at SeatGeek Stadium would be an important boost in the team’s ability to reach new fans. The Fire’s stadium in Bridgeview is also not easily accessed via public transportation — it requires a train ride to Midway Airport followed by a bus ride from the airport to the stadium, a commute that takes over an hour from the city. It is also a traffic-filled 45-minute drive from most places in the city.

MLS is a party to the stadium lease, a practice that was commonplace with third-party leases in the early days of MLS, but is no longer a regular practice. Rumours circulated that other league owners will be contributing toward the buyout of the SeatGeek Stadium lease, but league sources said there are no plans for other team owners to contribute. Three separate sources familiar with ownership discussions said no such arrangement has been presented to owners of other MLS teams, and that it would be unlikely other teams would agree to such a plan. 

In an interview with Sports Illustrated last month, MLS commissioner Don Garber hinted a move back to Soldier Field could be in the works for the Fire. The team played at Soldier Field from its inaugural season in 1998 through 2002, then again from 2003-06 after a brief hiatus during the NFL stadium’s renovations. SeatGeek Stadium opened midway through the 2006 season. 

“We were playing in Soldier Field and we ended up going into a stadium that is not downtown, does not have the things around it that many of our other urban parks do,” Garber said on the Planet Futbol podcast. “And if things could work out properly maybe we end up back at Soldier Field at some point.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber

But while moving into the city of Chicago would certainly help access a millennial demographic that has been vital to the growth of MLS around the country, it should not be considered a cure-all for a team that has struggled mightily on the field. The Fire have finished ninth or tenth in the Eastern Conference in four of the past five years, creating a mix of frustration and apathy even within its most diehard fanbase. And while the team has spent more on its on-field product, signing players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic, it lacks in several areas of infrastructure and support, including training grounds and a scouting network.

The lease with the Village of Bridgeview imposes a significant restriction, one which prohibits the Fire from playing any MLS home games outside of Bridgeview, without the express permission of the Village. According to two sources, MLS commissioner Don Garber flew to the Chicago area to meet with Bridgeview mayor Steven Landek ahead of the MLS All-Star Game announcement in 2017 in hopes of securing a Chicago Fire regular season match at Soldier Field during that season. League officials held off on an announcement that the All-Star game would be held at Soldier Field in order to pair that announcement with the Fire game, and team and league officials were optimistic a deal had been struck. In the end, however, Bridgeview declined to allow the game.

Chicago-Fire-Default-2

Possible Rebrand Also In The Works?

“We’re still in that process, and I think refresh is the word we like.”

Nelson Rodriguez, Fire GM

Multiple sources confirmed meetings have also been held regarding a potential team rebranding, though no decision has been finalized on whether that will include a new team name. Vlahakis’ tweet indicated that the Fire would rebrand as “Chicago City Football Club” as part of the move back downtown.

Fire general manager and president Nelson Rodriguez said on the record in a roundtable discussion with reporters last summer that the team has considered a brand “refresh.”chicago-fire-logo-png-chicago-fire-logo-vector-299

“We’re just still in that process, and I think refresh is the word we like,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not an overhaul, it’s not a major change. It’s an iconic badge. There’s a lot of great history at the club, a lot of great work from people that came before (COO John Urban) and I arrived, which we think should be honored. We will continue to honor that, but times change, there needs to be a little bit of an evolution and I think we need to hone in on what our voice is for today, and that’s what we’re working on.”

The Fire, which won MLS Cup in its inaugural season in 1998, holds a historic place in the league’s history. Conversely, the brand has almost no resonance in the city of Chicago, where game days are mere blips on the radar of most city residents and bigger media outlets in the market do not provide regular coverage. That lack of market penetration, paired with the dreadful management of a franchise that has made the playoffs just twice in the last nine seasons, has created a massive problem for the league as a whole. MLS, which is eyeing a new media rights deal in 2021, needs to remedy its lack of interest in the third-largest media market in the country.

A Fire rebrand would follow the model set by the MLS franchise in Kansas City, which rebranded from the “Kansas City Wizards” to “Sporting Kansas City” in 2010. That rebrand, paired with a new stadium opened in the summer of 2011, has been one of the success stories in MLS. That rebrand and new stadium, however, was buoyed by the consistent success of the team and charismatic coach and Sporting Director Peter Vermes, supported by a large infrastructure investment on the part of the investors owning the team. Kansas City’s MLS  franchise, which won an MLS Cup as the Wizards in 2000, stands out as one of the league’s few “original 10” teams that experience success in their home market.

Before And After:  Kansas City Rebrand

Kansas_City_WizardsSporting_Kansas_City_logo

 

 

 

 

Other MLS original clubs have struggled to keep pace with recent expansion teams, including two other teams that have rebranded: FC Dallas, originally the Dallas Burn, and the New York Red Bulls, originally the New York/New Jersey Metrostars. The Red Bulls, while a success on the field and with a top-class stadium, have not seen that translate in its attendance figures. Other MLS original franchises that are struggling to make a big impact within their market include the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew. Columbus nearly relocated before being saved by new ownership, while Colorado and New England, like Chicago, have struggled in most seasons over the past decade; New England has just three playoff appearances since 2010, Colorado has four, and the Fire have just two.

Those on-field struggles have showed themselves at the gate. The Fire has an average announced attendance of 15,723 over the past nine seasons, and has averaged just 11,029 in three home games this season, the worst in MLS—just below Colorado and New England.

A chance to get back into the city could provide a jumpstart, but negotiations with Bridgeview have been tricky in the past. One source pointed to a recent example to show that no deal is done until the papers are signed.

Reviews of SeatGeek Stadium on Yelp

Bienvenidos al ‘Show’ de Pozuelo

Toronto Football Club adquirió a Pozuelo, quien tuve un partido espectacular en su debut.

La llegada a Toronto fue complicado.

Han sido unos meses complicados para Alejandro Pozuelo, quien decidió concluir su aventura en el Genk belga, y finalmente llegó oficialmente a Toronto FC recientemente.

Ahora con el club canadiense, antés de su debut ante NYCFC, solo esperaba poder hacer su debut junto a sus nuevos compañeros el viernes. Dijó, “Puedo estar listo para el viernes, si el entrenador quiere”, Pozuelo le dijo a la página oficial del club.

First Press Conference of Alejandro Pozuelo at Toronto.

Todos esperaban que Alejandro hagaría su debut ante los neoyorquinos y club tienía “confianza que Pozuelo está en un estado físico apropiado para jugar sin ninguna limitación”. Hablando de la vida en Toronto Pozuelo dijo, estoy muy encantado en estos primeros días. “Estoy muy feliz”.


“Toronto es la mejor opción para mi. “He estado aquí apenas unos días, pero la gente en la ciudad y en el club son familia. Es como en España, la gente es interesante.”

Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC

“Mi esposa y mis hijos son lo más importante en mi vida”, añadió Pozuelo. “Me dan soporte cuando las cosas no van bien. Si mi esposa e hijos están felices, yo también lo estoy, y esta es la mejor ciudad para ellos”.

Anticipación Antes Su Primer Partido.

En el campo, Pozuelo no pudo esperar para ver acción. Estaba ansioso y hambriento por conseguir puntos, y ayudar a los Escarlatas a llegar a las alturas alcanzadas en 2017 cuando ganaron el histórico triplete.

“Una cosa importante para que yo llegara aquí, es que quieren ganar”, dijo Pozuelo. “Es importante. Tenemos que ganar, necesitamos jugar bien. El club tiene una muy buena filosofía”.

Partidazo En Su Debut

No pudo estar mejor en el día en el que se puso por primera vez la camiseta del Toronto en el terreno de juego.

Fue titular y, a los 29 minutos, ya demostró por qué lo habían fichado. Una gran asistencia para que Altidore inaugurar el marcador. Pura magia del ex del Betis.

Pero su actuación se iba a endulzar todavía más en la segunda mitad. Ha sido el último en llegar y ya fue el designado para lanzar el penalti que supuso el 2-0. Lejos de ponerse nervioso, el andaluz decidió lanzar ‘a lo Panenka’ para deleite de su afición.

No terminaría allí. El ‘show’ de Pozuelo no podría terminar de otra manera que de una manera grande. Recibió el balón en el borde del área y, cuando todos esperaban un disparo fuerte, decidió morder el balón al portero con un lóbulo casi perfecto. Como si se tratara de una pena máxima ‘a la panenka’.

Una actuación estelar en su estreno en la MLS. Pura magia que ya demostró durante su etapa en la Liga Española, en el Real Betis, donde dio sus primeros pasos como profesional.

Pozuelo had a sensational start to his Toronto career.

Building A Champion: What To Expect As Inter Miami CF Builds Its Roster For 2020.

Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, March 26, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

We received more insight into how Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami is thinking about filling out its roster in advance of its inaugural season in 2020, by way of recent interviews. (1) see link below

In charge of building Miami is Sporting Director Paul McDonough, who was interviewed for MLSSoccer.com and offered some insight. Prior to being named as Miami’s Sporting Director, Paul, a Massachusetts native, was instrumental in building Atlanta United’s MLS Cup Championship team, and prior to that, also developed the roster for Orlando City Soccer Club for heir first its season in 2015. He has also coached on a university level including Assistant Coach positions at the University of Connecticut, University of South Carolina, Wake Forest University, and
the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg. At UConn he assisted with all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the Husky soccer program, with an emphasis on the recruiting portion. He has been a player representative for several years.

Expertise Building Expansion Clubs:

If soccer had an official designation of “expert”, McDonough could realistically carry that label; in fact it’s safe to say he has more experience building MLS expansion teams than anyone. The results also make for a compelling case.

Orlando City SC 2014-2015

In 2014, during Orlando City’s final USL season, the club named Adrian Heath its head coach and hired Paul McDonough to be general manager. Paul outlined a three-year plan to becoming an MLS Cup contender. He was also able to sign Brazilian star Kaká, who was a friend of owner Flávio Augusto da Silva and CEO Alex Leitão. Paul focused on bringing in young talent to fill out the roster. U.S. youth internationals Tommy Redding and Tyler Turner were signed and played with the first team in 2014. Additionally, Portuguese youth international Rafael Ramos was signed. Paul obtained Cyle Larin in the MLS SuperDraft. Kaká was the top paid player that season, and the other two available Designated Player slots went to a pair of young internationals — Carlos Rivas, a speedy striker from Colombia, and Bryan Rochez, a strong striker from Honduras. Orlando City was an in-form side late in the season and finished just one position in the table and five points out of the playoffs with a 12-14-8 record, still the club’s best-ever mark in MLS. When the club instituted a shake up of the front office after the season ended, Paul found himself demoted. He thereafter left the club.

Atlanta United FC 2016-2018

It took little time for Atlanta United FC to hire Paul, where he worked with club President Darren Eales (Atlanta United Front Office Profiles- Darren Eales), the Vice President of Soccer Operations, Carlos Bocanegra, (Atlanta United Front Office, Carlos Bocanegra) (Bocanegra is now the Vice President and Technical Director) and head coach Tata Martino to turn the expansion team into a powerhouse.

The team-building plan Paul unveiled in Orlando also worked in Atlanta. With ownership under Arthur Blank committed to spending money, he built a strong, young team that could compete early. He used a similar pattern of roster-building, signing a primary Designated Player and a pair of younger Designated Players. The DP was 23-year-old Venezuelan Josef Martinez who was transferred from Torino of Serie A, as well as young DPs Miguel Almirón and Héctor Villalba. The expansion side reached the playoffs. It it was Paul’s knowledge of how to maximize the MLS roster rules and roster building mechanisms that brought Atlanta to the summit, allowing them to pair Almirón, Martinez and Villalba with players like veterans Michael Parkhurst, Brad Guzan and Jeff Larentowicz, plus Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Julian Gressel, Carlos Carmona, Darlington Nagbe and Ezequiel Barco. That team finished the 2017 MLS season tied for fifth all-time in goals scored in a single-season (70), and fourth all-time in goal differential (+30). The trio of Designated Players in Martinez, Almirón and Villalba combined to score 41 goals – a higher total than five other MLS teams in 2017.

Miguel Almirón scored 24 goals in 2018 for Atlanta United FC’s attack-minded roster.

Taking those experiences into account, here are some of Paul’s thoughts as to the structure of Inter Miami, its style of play and the type of players he is looking at.

Miami will likely resemble more Atlanta than Orlando in terms of spending. Indeed, within MLS at the present time there seems to be two camps of owner/investors; those who want to push for more spending and those who would prefer to keep a tight lid on spending. Miami will be a club not afraid to splash the cash for the right players.

In an interview Monday, March 25, 2019 with Magic City Soccer, Managing Partner Jorge Mas had this to say:

“Our team headquarters have walls full of prospective rosters. I think our fans will be extremely happy with the type of players we are looking at. I anticipate that our fans will see a type of Atlanta United model. Our scouts have been in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico in the last four months, and we have a prospective list of players. We will field a team that is competitive right out of the gate. I anticipate announcing our head coach in the October time frame, and we have two finalists.”

Jorge Mas, Managing Partner, Inter Miami CF

With his experience in Orlando and Atlanta to draw on, McDonough knows how to properly build a successful expansion team. Make no mistake, this will be a high pressure situation, and Miami sports fans are not known for their patience. However, the resources are there, and the owners feel he is exactly the man who can make it all come together.

McDonough says he will use all three Designated Player (“DP’s”) spots in Miami’s first season in the league, with two of those players on the books by the time the 2020 campaign begins. A third could be on the roster in time for opening day, though McDonough said that third DP could also join over the summer. To some degree it depends on which DP the club goes for first. Each DP signing impacts what player the club might pursue for the second DP, and same for the third.

The club is actively putting the “Internacional” in Miami’s name to good use. Engaging in a worldwide scouting effort, McDonough, technical director Kurt Schmid, a longtime scout with Seattle and the LA Galaxy, and Director of Soccer Operations Niki Budalic, formerly Orlando City’s GM, have attended games on several continents in recent weeks. They’re not currently involved in negotiations with any players, but McDonough said they are having “informal discussions” regarding several. We should expect the first signings over the summer and into fall. Meanwhile, the Inter Miami CF Academy is expected to launch in the summer.

Miami being the attraction that it is, the rumour mill is in full swing about which players will arrive. In all cases, the names are big ones. Inter Miami is prepared to pay large transfer fees or salaries on the right players.

McDonough didn’t say whether he is looking at a big name like he had in Orlando City with Kaká, or gather several young talented players like he did in Atlanta. He did say that if they go for a big star, then that requires at least another player who has the ability to complement the big star. Otherwise, the big star can become overburdened.

“In Atlanta, the ambition was known right out of the gate: We were going to try to be competitive from Day 1,” McDonough told MLSsoccer.com.

paul-mcdonough-sporting-director-inter-miami-expansion-atlanta-united-fc-20151216

“We spent that way, that was the approach, to be very competitive in Year 1 but not go crazy so that we could keep the roster together and make a serious push in Year 2. And look, it worked out perfectly. And this in Miami, the ambition will be very much the same.”

Paul McDonough, Inter Miami CF Sporting Director

“I think the thing with Atlanta, the young DPs all were similar age and I think that was really, really important,” he said. “Targeted Allocation Money allowed us to build more of a balanced team when you had Chris McCann, Carlos Carmona, Leandro, Guzan and Parkhurst as our main guys, so the experiences and the balance in age was better for Atlanta. Whereas in Orlando, you had Kaká and a bunch of young kids we were trying to build around. And in all honesty, it probably just wasn’t fair to Kaká. You look back on it and that’s my concern, if I brought one big DP in, I would need to bring some guys in that had experiences that mean they’re basically allowed to be in the same dressing room as that guy, that have the experiences of playing in big games at big clubs and things like that.”

Tactically, expect Miami to play “in an attractive, attacking style,” says McDonough, without elaborating on any particular formation.

4-3-3 Attack Minded Formation – For Illustration Purposes Only

The eventual manager will need to be able to function well in Miami’s international, multicultural atmosphere, as well as be adept at managing big personalities, who often carry a reputation for being difficult to manage. A great manager finds a way to get the most from his players. McDonough’s experience should help in this area too. “It’s super, super important that we get someone that can handle the pressure and the big personalities that potentially could be here,” he said.

“Look, this is really big challenge. Professional soccer in South Florida, it’s been a mess for quite a while,” he said. “I tell everyone, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have to pick a direction and make decisions that’s best for the club and really what’s going to be best for soccer in South Florida. And they’re all kind of waiting to see if we deliver on what we say. I tell the guys, it’s just really, really important that whatever we say we’re going to do, we do well, and we follow through. We have to. We’re going to be the stewards of soccer in South Florida. We have to do this right.”

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Continue reading Building A Champion: What To Expect As Inter Miami CF Builds Its Roster For 2020.

Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners unanimously approve moving forward with Inter Miami CF facility at Lockhart Stadium.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Thursday, March 14, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Inter Miami CF wins!

In the end, City of Fort Lauderdale commissioners agreed that there was only one choice. On Tuesday, they unanimously selected the bid by Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, and David Beckham’s vision for bringing the club’s permanent training centre and home to its youth academy to Fort Lauderdale.

Included in the club’s plan is a new Lockhart Stadium, which will serve as Internacional’s home stadium in 2020 and 2021, as well as the permanent home of the club’s USL One affiliate.

Marlins Park, Hard Rock Stadium, and Riccardo Silva Stadium on the campus of Florida International University had all been considered as temporary venues, but Inter Miami officials opted for Lockhart.

If all goes as planned, the construction of an 18,000-seat modular stadium, complete with a shade canopy, at 1350 NW 55 St in Fort Lauderdale, should begin in July, making it ready for Inter Miami CF’s first season. Next year’s MLS calendar has yet to be revealed, but traditionally the league begins play on the first full weekend in March, which next year would mean Saturday, March 7, 2020.

Highlighting the Difference in Government Efficiency

Inter Miami only placed a bid on the city-owned property in Fort Lauderdale at the end of January. In less than two months, they presented their proposal and obtained the approval of city commissioners to negotiate a lease. Meanwhile, in Miami… More than four years passed between David Beckham’s initial announcement in 2014 that he had chosen Miami as the city for his MLS team, before he and his partners finally were able to make progress. And the process in Miami is still not complete, despite a large approval (over 60%) by voters last November to transform Melreese Golf Course into the home stadium for Inter Miami CF as well as a the creation of Miami’s largest park (Miami Freedom Park), public soccer fields, a technology hub, office, hotel and entertainment space.

Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Saw the Value

After hearing proposals by both Inter Miami and a competing bid by FXE Futbol, city commissioners voted to rank the Inter Miami CF proposal higher than the FXE Futbol proposal, and the commission voted Tuesday night to allow negotiations to begin.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Ben Sorensen were understandably happy with the decision by Inter Miami to invest in the city, an investment estimated to be worth $30 to $60 million. “It’s a great day for Fort Lauderdale,” Commissioner Sorensen said.

During the round-table meeting, comissioners watched animated renderings on a flat-screen television of visions by architecture firms hired by Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer franchise, and FXE Futbol, which was hopeful of being granted a United Soccer League franchise to compete in the USL Championship (2nd Division). However, FXE Futbol had not actually submitted a formal application to USL, per USL sources. They instead decided to wait until obtaining the right to negotiate with the City of Fort Lauderdale before applying. They also disclosed during hearings that they would be seeking additional investors as part of their bid for the project and USL franchise.

Both of the plans involved demolishing the abandoned Lockhart Stadium, which first opened in 1959 and was named after a former Fort Lauderdale commissioner. The adjacent former baseball stadium will also be demolished. Inter Miami CF’s designs were created by Manica Architecture, which specialises in the design of international sport venues. Inter Miami CF’s vision will be entirely privately funded.

South Florida Soccer Icon Weighs In

Ray Hudson, 63, was in his usual ecstatic form. The former English soccer player has good memories at the now abandoned Lockhart Stadium. After playing for the Newcastle United, he moved to South Florida in 1977 to play for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Ray Hudson

The midfielder played for them until 1992, and then went on to coach the Miami Fusion, a former MLS team based out of Lockhart Stadium. He now works as a commentator on beIN Sports covering La Liga games and radio host for SiriusXM FC 157.

Commitment to Fort Lauderdale is Long-Term

In a non-solicited proposal originally submitted to Fort Lauderdale on January 28, 2019, Inter Miami committed to privately fund the design, development, construction, maintenance, and operation of a state-of-the-art soccer training complex that includes an 18,000-seat stadium, as well as several community facilities, including a public park, at the 65-acre site. The total investment in Fort Lauderdale will be on the order of $60 Million, half of which will go into building the new Lockhart.

Beckham and Mas were at Lockhart on Thursday March 14 to announce their proposal.

Mas said recently he was “very excited” about his team’s proposal to develop the publicly owned Lockhart Stadium grounds in Fort Lauderdale as a state-of-the-art training site that would double as a youth-development academy.


“We’re going to build a new stadium there. It’s not a refurbishment of Lockhart. It will be a new stadium for a (second-tier) USL team and a soccer-centric academy. We’ll be able to host tournaments and other games there.”

Jorge Mas, Managing Owner, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami.



Even after Inter Miami CF moves to Miami Freedom Park adjacent to Miami International Airport, Inter Miami CF promises not to abandon the property. The team says it is applying for a USL franchise. USL forms the second and third tier of US Soccer. Inter Miami plans to run a club competing in USL League One. (Third Tier) This club will remain permanently at Lockhart and will allow locals to see players develop before hopefully being selected to the senior squad.

The team also said that the site will be used for the franchise’s youth academy. It will be the longest distance from the home stadium to an academy in MLS, but this only underscores the huge amount of territory that South Florida spans.

“Our ownership group has spent months carefully discussing venue options to launch Inter Miami CF’s inaugural season in MLS, while we build Miami Freedom Park,” said Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough. “Ultimately we decided to expand our vision for the Fort Lauderdale project to launch our first two seasons in the League the right way. Our goal is to provide fans with the most captivating soccer atmosphere and gameday experience, and we did not believe this would be possible at the venues we evaluated.”

Ability to Attract Talent To The Academy A Factor

The Sporting Director also pointed out that having an Academy in the middle of the urban South Florida area made good sense. “I think the decision for us was: We want to be South Florida’s team, and our youth territory stretches all the way south from Homestead, all the way north to Palm Beach,” McDonough said. “So we figured that if we wanted to capture the best players for our developmental system, we thought that this site gave us the best opportunity.

“Yeah, the history of everything that’s happened at that site was really neat, but I think it was really important that we captured the best players — but also that we are South Florida’s team.”

Inter Miami CF proposal video for Lockhart. Courtesy of Inter Miami CF.

Aside from the soccer-performance facilities and fields, Inter Miami plans to build several public features, including parks and soccer fields. The site could also host concerts, high-school sports, and other events. The team said there will be no commercial development on the property. Fort Lauderdale will only have to maintain the four community soccer fields being built. Inter Miami CF will maintain its seven soccer fields it intends to build.

The next step in this process will be for the City and Inter Miami CF to agree on the terms on the long-term lease. Building permits will also need to be procured. The plan is to begin construction in July, 2019.

Related: News Conference Held on March 14, 2019.

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

El Maestro Joins La Academia of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Hires Javier Morales to Team’s Academy

Miami, FL (February 22, 2019) –

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (“Inter Miami CF”) has hired former Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas star Javier Morales to the team’s Academy coaching staff.

“We are thrilled to welcome Javier to our club. He has played at the highest level, both in MLS and internationally, and his experience will be invaluable for our Academy players as we build our foundation and begin play later this year. We are excited to work with him in the next phase of his career as a coach.”


Sporting Director Paul McDonough

Morales joins Miami after working as the U-13 Academy Coach with FC Dallas. In his one season in that role, he led the youth team to an international championship at the 2018 Copa Rayados Internacional tournament in Mexico.

He earned the nickname “El Maestro” as one of the best playmakers in MLS, Morales spent 10 seasons with Real Salt Lake, from 2007-16, where he was a star performer for head coach Jason Kreis (who is also on the Inter Miami CF coaching staff) and played on the 2009 MLS Cup Championship Team. He also appeared as a Finalist on numerous occasions including the 2011 Concacaf Champions League, 2013 MLS Cup and 2013 U.S. Open Cup.

Did You Know? Morales finished his career with FC Dallas in 2017, becoming a member of the elite “50-50 club” designated for those MLS players who have been credited with 50 goals and 50 assists, becoming the 17th player in MLS history to accomplish the feat.

During his MLS career, Morales played in 255 games, scoring 50 goals and adding 83 assists. Complete Career Statistics via Transfermarkt

A native of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina (b. Jan 10, 1980) Morales played for Lanús and Arsenal de Sarandí, as well as Newell’s Old Boys and Instituto de Cordoba, before making his move to MLS.


Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Anuncia Llegada de Javier Morales a la Academia del Equipo

Miami, FL. (viernes, 22 de febrero de 2019) –

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami anunció hoy la contratación de Javier Morales como entrenador de la Academia del equipo.

“Estamos emocionados al darle la bienvenida a Javier al club. Javier ha jugado en grandes clubes tanto en la MLS como a nivel internacional, y su experiencia será muy beneficiosa para los jugadores de la academia conforme vamos construyendo los cimientos de la misma, con vista a jugar este mismo año.”


Paul McDonough, Director Deportivo del Inter Miami CF.

Morales llega al Inter Miami del FC Dallas, donde el año pasado fue entrenador del equipo Sub-13. De la mano de Morales, el equipo se coronó campeón del torneo internacional 2018 Copa Rayados que se celebró en México.

Llegó al FC Dallas en 2017. Con Dallas acabó su carrera como un miembro del “club 50-50” que alberga a aquellos jugadores de MLS que han sido acreditados con 50 goles y 50 asistencias. Es el decimoséptimo jugador en la historia de la MLS en conseguir este logro.

Apodado “El Maestro” por ser uno de los mejores jugadores creativos la MLS, Morales jugó 10 temporadas con el Real Salt Lake (2007 al 2016) bajo la batuta de Jason Kreis ganando la Copa MLS en el 2009. También fue finalista en torneos como la Liga de Campeones de Concacaf en 2011, la Copa MLS en 2013 y el U.S Open Cup en 2011.

En su carrera en la MLS, Morales jugo un total de 255 partidos, anotando 50 goles y marcando 83 asistencias.

Antes de unirse al RSL, Morales jugó en su nativa Argentina para el Club Atlético Lanús, el Arsenal de Sarandí, así como de Newell´s Old Boys y el Instituto Córdoba.

Javi Morales, durante su tiempo con Arsenal de Sarandí
¡Que gol marcado por Javi Morales por medio de una bicicleta contra Portland en 2013!

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Could This Be A Third Option For Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami?

Miami, FL (Wednesday February 20, 2019) – Kenneth Russo –

Another potential site for the temporary home of Inter Miami CF has emerged, according to information discovered via social media feeds. On February 12, 2019, officials from the MLS club, Dennis Sprenkle, the Vice-President of HR and Administration, and Jurgen Mainka, Director of Commercial, met with the President of Saint Thomas University, David A. Armstrong, J.D. at the team’s Miami offices.

Inter Miami CF is in need of securing a home for its inaugural season beginning in March 2020, and in all likelihood for the 2021 season as well. The Club had been in talks with MLB’s Miami Marlins to play at Marlins Park, but the two sides could not reach an accord. They also reportedly have talked to RSE Ventures about leasing Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, but again without an agreement being struck.

The third choice for a temporary home has usually focused on Riccardo Silva Stadium at Florida International University. Located in the western part of Miami-Dade County, that site also has its complications, the primary obstacle being that Inter Miami CF would be the third tenant, and would be required to adjust its home dates to fit in with FIU Football and the Miami Football Club, a non division team owned in part by Silva which played in the now defunct NASL. Also, the location is less-than-ideal, as it is far from the urban core of Miami.

At the meeting with St. Thomas on February 12, the two sides talked about potential partnerships with the University and with the St. Thomas University Sports Administration Program.

Founded in 1961 as Biscayne College by the order of Augustinian Friars, the private Catholic institution achieved university status in 1984, operates one of only two accredited Catholic law schools south of Washington, D.C., and offers multiple degrees at the bachelor and master level. It has an undergraduate enrollment of 4,280, and its current campus size is 140 acres, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report survey of colleges and universities. The university listed 28 acres of land for sale in August 2018. The sale of the land, located along the Palmetto Expressway, would be used to strengthen its endowment and finance strategic projects, according to President David A. Armstrong.

https://www.latimes.com/fl-bz-st-thomas-university-selling-28-acres-20180823-story.html

St. Thomas University has recently added men’s American Football to its university sports program, with games beginning in Fall 2019, but has yet to announce where it will play those home games. Presently, there is no football stadium on the campus. It is also entirely possible that St. Thomas is interested in using the eventual Miami Freedom Park Stadium. No one has ever mentioned Inter Miami CF sharing its home with other teams, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented either. Within MLS, Toronto FC has allowed the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts to use BMO Field; Los Angeles Galaxy’s Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson California is the temporary home of the relocated NFL Chargers; FC Dallas’ home is used for American Football.

Geographically, St. Thomas’ location in northern Miami-Dade County make it an ideal site for Inter Miami CF, as the location is easily accessible by car from both Miami and Broward County. The university also has experience in hosting a soccer club, having been the home grounds of the aforementioned Miami FC while the club dropped down to play in the NPSL. St. Thomas controls a large amount of land and has the room necessary to construct a football stadium for its newly launched university team.

If there is anything to the possibility of constructing a temporary home at St. Thomas, plans would have to occur quickly. The time factor gives rise to another potential: the use of a modular stadium. This has been a popular solution for USL teams. For example, Phoenix Rising FC have constructed a modular stadium for its home games, while building the club’s fanbase and developing plans for a permanent stadium as part of its very strong expansion bid to Major League Soccer. Phoenix’ modular stadium has 6,000 seats, and building one for Inter Miami CF would require at least 15,000 to be a viable option and to meet MLS standards.

Read more about InProduction modular stadiums: