Inter Miami CF partner with Elevate Sports Ventures To Lead Premium Ticket Sales, Servicing and Strategy.

“The Inter Miami CF brand is poised to become a powerhouse on the world stage and a dominant team in the South Florida market.

Al Guido, Chief Executive Officer of Elevate Sports Ventures

Miami, Fla., May 23, 2019 — Kenneth Russo

In a joint press release Thursday, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami and Elevate Sports Ventures (“Elevate”) have announced an agreement whereby Elevate will serve as the Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team’s premium sales agency. With an emphasis on premium, season and individual ticket sales strategy, servicing and hospitality, Elevate will support Inter Miami’s inaugural home season schedule.

“We are thrilled to partner with Elevate as we launch our inaugural MLS campaign in 2020.”

Jurgen Mainka, Chief Business Officer, Inter Miami CF

Al Guido, Chief Executive Officer of Elevate Sports Ventures, described Inter Miami as one of the most dynamic ownership groups, innovative management teams and promising soccer clubs in the world today. He added: “The Inter Miami CF brand is poised to become a powerhouse on the world stage and a dominant team in the South Florida market. We are confident that South Florida’s communities, fans and businesses will rally around this exciting new franchise, mirroring captivation around the globe. We are thrilled to add Inter Miami CF to Elevate’s growing roster of diverse, global clients, brands and teams.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Elevate as we launch our inaugural MLS campaign in 2020,” said Jurgen Mainka, Chief Business Officer of Inter Miami CF. “The market knowledge, resources and innovative processes they bring to the table will help us engage and connect with the dynamically diverse communities we proudly represent in South Florida and around the world.”

Today’s news comes as Inter Miami began accepting season ticket deposits earlier this month for priority access to season tickets for its inaugural season in March 2020. (Deposits are still being taken at intermiamicf.com.)

Elevate will leverage the best-in-class expertise and resources from its dynamic roster of founding partners to support the sales and marketing efforts for Inter Miami CF.  Fueled by unparalleled understanding of CRM and database management, analytics and data-driven fan insights and award-winning ticket sales techniques, Elevate will implement a market and team-specific strategy for the new, highly anticipated MLS franchise.

Inter Miami CF is the 25th club in Major League Soccer. The club aims to leverage Miami’s international population:

“Inter Miami CF will celebrate all that makes Miami extraordinary. We will be multilingual and omnicultural. We will harness the city’s great history and unmatched culture to create new traditions, rituals, and symbols that are admired around the world. We will bring world class fútbol to this world class city, once and for all. Fútbol that is as creative, exciting, unique, and multicultural as we are. Fútbol that makes people everywhere wish they could be here.”

For more information, visit www.intermiamicf.com or follow the Club on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.  ­­­­

Who Is Elevate Sports Ventures?

Elevate Sports Ventures has a stated goal of “taking entertainment to new heights.” They are a sports and entertainment consulting firm that offers proven, innovative solutions to organisations across the global sports and entertainment landscape. Elevate has extensive resources, relationships, and calls on the expertise of its partners to innovate and execute comprehensive strategies and solutions in the following areas: venue renovations, sales and marketing, stadium licenses, premium ticketing, corporate hospitality, customer research, strategy and analytics, sales training, and more.

New Company Formed in 2018

Elevate was founded in 2018, as a partnership between the San Francisco 49ers and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE). Elevate welcomed Oak View Group (OVG) and Ticketmaster and Live Nation as partners in June 2018.  The new company distinguishes itseld as a “world-class premium services company” focused on project transformation, execution, and sales and marketing dynamics for teams, venues and leagues. They can deliver an array of services including market research, corporate hospitality and CRM optimisation.

Their executive team is steeped in industry experience, with partners that include Al Guido (President of the San Francisco 49ers), Scott O’Neil (CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment), Tim Leiweke (CEO of Oak View Group) and Jared Smith (Executive Vice President of Live Nation and President of Ticketmaster). In September 2018, Elevate launched Elevate On Campus, with the goal of supporting ticket sales, strategy and service in intercollegiate athletics and university venues. Their university clients include the University of Kentucky.

O’Neil, the Co-Managing Partner of Elevate Sports Ventures, in an interview in 2018, stressed the experience and talents that the company possesses.

“We understand the importance and diligence it takes to manage big brands, because we manage some of the biggest sports and entertainment brands in the world,” O’Neil said. “For sports properties, venues and teams seeking a true partner, who understands the needs and challenges of an operator and has a proven record of maximising monetization, Elevate Sports Ventures offers innovative and individualised solutions. The size and scope of the deals that this group of executives has generated and projects they’ve undertaken is unmatched by any one organisation in the space today.”

Photo Credit: Elevate Sports Ventures.
To Learn More, Visit Elevate at http://www.ElevateSportsVentures.com and http://www.elevateoncampus.com or follow @ElevateSV and @Elevate_Campus.

Miami City Commission Will Decide On Resolution To Retain Legal Consultant For Lease Negotiations With Miami Freedom Park, LLC.

Updated: May 23, 2019 –

The Miami City Commissioners passed RE14, the resolution to appoint legal consultants to assist in the Miami Freedom Park lease negotiations, by a 4-1 vote. The lone ‘no’ was Manolo Reyes, who once again was argumentative and openly dismissive and hostile to the plan. Furthermore, the resolution was amended such that the city attorney will have the final say on which of 3 law firm(s) to work with. (Original article follows)

With Public Mandate secured in last November’s election, Miami Freedom Park moves on to the negotiation stage.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 – Kenneth Russo

The Miami City Commission will decide on a resolution at the City Commissioners Meeting scheduled for this Thursday, May 23, 2019.

The resolution reads as follows:

A RESOLUTION OF THE MIAMI CITY COMMISSION AUTHORIZING THE RETENTION OF _______________________ AS LEGAL CONSULTANTS TO WORK IN CONSULTATION WITH THE CITY ATTORNEY AND TO PROVIDE SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE ON NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE CITY OF MIAMI AND FREEDOM PARK LLC; FURTHER AUTHORIZING THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR SAID PURPOSE; ALLOCATING FUNDS FROM THE NON-DEPARTMENTAL LEGAL SERVICES ACCOUNT NO. 00001.980000.531010.0000.00000.

The full May 23, 2019 meeting agenda is available by following this link: City Commission Agenda – May 23, 2019

Resolution Language

With approval by over 60% of Voters on November 6, 2018, the referendum for an amendment to Section 29-B of the Charter of the City of Miami allows the City Commission to negotiate and execute a 99 year lease with Miami Freedom Park, LLC. Approximately 73 acres of the land will be used for the Soccer Stadium project (includes 1,000,000 square feet of office, retail, entertainment and commercial uses, 750 hotel rooms, public soccer fields) and approximately 58 acres for Miami Freedom Park, a new public park. The stadium will become the permanent home of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami. It is expected to have around 25,000 seats and be ready for the 2022 MLS season.

Two Legal Consultants Under Consideration by City

One of the firms being considered is actually a partnership of two law firms with relevant experience: Fowler, White, Burnett and O’Melveny & Myers, LLP.

Fowler is headquartered in Miami and has additional offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. In a document filed in support of their appointment, Fowler lists the following leasing-related services it can provide to clients:

  • Contract negotiations
  • Purchase options
  • Space construction
  • Rent escalation clauses
  • Leasing brokerage agreements and issues
  • Ground-lease transactions both for new developments and existing buildings
  • Major sale and leasebacks transactions
  • Creative tenant-equity leases
  • Reciprocal lease agreements
  • Financing arrangements
  • Property management agreements

O’Melveny’s legal expertise in stadium development issues is well known in the legal field. Alliance partner Irwin Raij, Esq. a partner at O’Melveny, has extensive sporting and stadium experience, which includes advising Phoenix Rising FC in connection with its MLS Expansion bid and related new stadium construction. Additionally, Attorney Raij has advised Palace Entertainment in connection with its bid for an MLS expansion team in Detroit. Charles Baker, Esq. is Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Sports Industry Practice Group and has been involved in a number of purchases and sales of sports franchises as well as private equity, and venture capital transactions, with a core focus in the sports, media and consumer sectors.

O’Melveny has also represented the developer of Dignity Health Sports Park (f/k/a Stubhub Center) the home stadium of the Los Angeles Galaxy, and served as counsel to Major League Baseball in the negotiations for Marlins Park. The firm also has naming rights experience and has worked on public-private partnerships.

The other law firm being considered by the City is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP (“BCP”). This firm boasts 1,400 lawyers in 31 offices across North America (including Miami), Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm’s response to the City states that: “We are among the most active law firms in the world in handling significant stadium developments and financing , as well as naming rights and sponsorship transactions. We have the expertise to handle all aspects of these projects, having served as lead counsel in connection with a number of high profile event venue projects across the United States and abroad, including the Staples Center, The 02 Arena (London), The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas NHL), the Dignity Health Sports Park (f/k/a StubHub Center) and many others.”

With regard to the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, BCP served as lead counsel to the developer, handling all aspects of the project, from real estate to naming and sponsorship rights. The firm represented the City of Jacksonville in its negotiations with the NFL Jaguars on a lease renegotiation, and has advised on two MLS stadiums: Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ and Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.

What effect does this have on the Miami Freedom Park project?

I believe this is a positive development. The Commissioners know that the voters have approved this so the idea of Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village has a public mandate. Thwarting the will of the people after a public vote is clearly not in their best interests. They obviously also have a responsibility to obtain the best result for the City. Having legal counsel with experience in these types of projects should produce a lease that is fair to both the city and Miami Freedom Park, LLC. The balancing act will be to not make the deal so one-sided in the City’s favour that an agreed upon lease becomes economically impractical from Miami Freedom Park’s perspective. But firms like this are highly skilled and their goal will be to succeed, i.e. produce a lease that is mutually acceptable.

It is entirely conceivable that the final lease produced by this process receives unanimous support of the City Commission.

Miami Freedom Park Stadium (photo credit: Inter Miami CF)

Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village 2018 Promotional Video, courtesy of Inter Miami CF:

Continue reading Miami City Commission Will Decide On Resolution To Retain Legal Consultant For Lease Negotiations With Miami Freedom Park, LLC.

What Jorge Mas had to say in interview on CBS4 Sports Desk.

Miami, Fla. (Monday, May 13, 2019) —

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Managing Owner was interviewed on Friday May 9, 2019 by CBS 4’s Mike Cugno. The interview appeared yesterday on CBS 4 Sports Desk. Here’s what the always enthusiastic Mas had to say about the club’s progress and projections for its roster for the inaugural season in 2020.

Mike Cugno, CBS4 Sports Desk Interview With Jorge Mas

Inter Miami CF Hold Ceremony To Mark Start of Revitalization of Lockhart – This is What This Project Is About.

“Demolition Day” paid tribute to the past while remaining squarely focused on the future of “fútbol” in South Florida.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Wednesday May 8, 2019)

A South Florida morning at its finest – bright, sunny skies, light breezes and warm temperatures – provided the perfect backdrop to an official ceremony by Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami to mark the beginning of the transformation of Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The site will be the permanent home of the Inter Academy, the club Training Centre, and home of its USL affiliated club. A new 18,000 seat stadium will be built as part of a park with a soccer focus. In addition to being home for the yet-to-be-named USL club, the stadium will be the temporary home for Inter Miami CF during its first two seasons in Major League Soccer, before moving to Miami Freedom Park once it is ready.

Television personality and fútbol commentator Fernando Fiore was the host of the ceremony and was his vibrant and humorous self. He recalled his many visits to Lockhart Stadium over the years, and called it a “pleasure” to return. He pulled out his ticket to the inaugural Miami Fusion game from Sunday, March 15, 1998 – Section 3, Row 15, Seat 98. “Please Jorge, make sure I have a seat by that one when we open the new one,” he joked.

Supporters of the new club were also very visible, with all three of the official Inter Miami Supporters Groups on hand: Vice City 1896, Southern Legion and The Siege. They sang, waved flags, banged drums, and set off the ubiquitous Inter Miami pink smoke into the air, announcing their presence and laying claim to the site.

Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas was one of the speakers at the event. Charismatic as always, he wanted to stress what the project stands for:

“This is about the youth and the younger generation. “This is for the young men and women who will be able to achieve their dreams here, who will be able to do something great for our community and fill their hearts with the joy of sport, with the joy of this beautiful game, with the joy of bringing families together. That’s what this project is all about.”

I had the chance to ask Ray Hudson, a legend of soccer here, who played for the original Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and later managed the MLS Miami Fusion, as well as enjoying success as an announcer for BeIn Sports. He told me he’s on board and called it a sign of progress. He also added to TV reporters:

“It’s all going to be torn down and that’s a good thing, it’s the progress that we’ve been looking for and this is in responsible hands.”

Ray Hudson

Among politicians on hand was Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. During his speech addressing the attendees, he said: “This is truly a historic day for the city of Fort Lauderdale as we come together to kick off a visionary project that will completely transform the 64-acre site and have a lasting impact on our community for generations to come,” Trantalis added: “Our partnership with Miami Beckham United and Inter Miami CF represents a new and exciting chapter in the history of this storied property. One that will bring $60 million in upgrades and improvements including a new professional soccer stadium, training facilities, team offices, a youth soccer academy, multi-purpose community athletic fields, and a major public park.”

With speeches finished, it was time to get wrecking, and the old Lockhart Stadium ticket booth was the first part to come down.

Looking Ahead: Images of the new Lockhart Park (courtesy of Inter Miami CF and Manika)

Season Ticket Deposit Campaign Begins

Yesterday also saw the opening day for fans to begin placing deposits on season tickets for the inaugural season in 2020. Links are available on Inter Miami social media channels, or online at www.InterMiamiCF.com. Fans can also affiliate with a supporters group, thereby gaining the ability to receive a special rate on season ticket deposits in the supporters section of the stadium as well as other benefits. More details are available on each of the social media accounts of the supporters groups.

Read more HERE

A Big “W” in Court: Judge denies attempt to stop Inter Miami CF from continuing plans to demolish Lockhart Stadium

Miami, Fla. (Friday, May 3, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Ordered and Adjudged that Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for Temporary Injunction, filed April 23, 2019, is hereby DENIED. Additionally, Plaintiff’s unverified request for Emergency Relief, filed April 30, 2019, is hereby DENIED. Furthermore, this Court GRANTS Defendants’ Request for reasonable attorney’s fees in defending against Plaintiff’s unverified Request For Emergency Relief, pursuant to section 57.105, Florida Statutes. See Also Admin. Order 2014-32-Civ(c)(6) (Sep. 30, 2014). DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, on this May 3rd, 2019. s/ Raag Singhal, Circuit Court Judge


And with those words, the merit-less attempt to stop Inter Miami CF from continuing its plans to demolish the abandoned and dilapidated Lockhart Stadium, in order to make way for a new stadium, training centre and academy, was disposed of, leaving club officials, supporters and fans with a much-needed victory.

David J. Winker, acting as counsel for FXE Futbol, went to court to put a halt to the work. He left court owing what will surely be a hefty legal bill to the attorneys who defended the City of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beckham United, LLC. against an emergency motion seeking an injunction that the Court felt was thoroughly without merit.

The primary argument raised by Miami Beckham United, LLC, a co-defendant in this case, was that the City of Fort Lauderdale’s decision to accept the unsolicited bid it made was one that is not properly reviewable by the Court: “The Plaintiff cites to zero authority, and Inter Miami is aware of none, that supports the proposition that a third party, without a legally recognized contractual or property interest in specific municipally owned property, such as Plaintiff, may enjoin that municipality from demolishing its own property.” (Defendant Miami Beckham United, LLC’s Response in Opposition To Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion For Temporary Injunction, pg. 5,6)

It was also argued that the Plaintiff lacks standing (a legal term meaning that it has no ability to bring forth a claim) and failed to meet any of the four requirements needed to be shown for injunctive relief to be granted.

The team’s counsel John K. Shubin, made this statement after today’s decision:

“Today’s decision confirms that the process that is bringing world-class soccer to the City of Fort Lauderdale was both lawful and fair. Our client will continue to move forward in good faith with the hard work that needs to be accomplished to convert this process into a reality. We also hope that we have seen the end of this meritless litigation.”

John K. Shubin, Esq.

With a little over 300 days until the start of the 2020 season, at least the question of where Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami will be playing its home games took a big step forward today.

A major component of Inter Miami CF’s plans for the Lockhart site, in addition to a 19,000 seat stadium that will serve as the interim home for the club as well as the permanent home to its affiliated USL League One (3rd Division), is a youth soccer academy — a competitive, travelling soccer team of the region’s best young players. The academy will be fully funded by the club, and players selected will be able to attend for free. The first members of the Inter Miami CF Academy are expected to be announced sometime soon. More than 6,000 South Florida youth players were scouted and over 500 were invited to attend formal tryouts that have been held at the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium.

For the public, four “pitches” — a regulation size soccer field that can be used for other sports — will be created, as well as a dog park, a running trail, playground and public park. The estimated investment that Inter Miami is making, including new, $30 million stadium: up to $60 million.

Inter Miami’s permanent home will be located in Miami at Miami Freedom Park, the site now occupied by the Melreese Golf Club. The team is currently working out the details of a lease which will be presented to the City of Miami.

UPDATE: Lockhart Stadium’s demolition is set to officially begin this Wednesday, May 8, 2019. All supporter groups and fans are welcome to arrive between 8:15-8:45 A.M. EDT.

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

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

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.