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

What is a Homegrown Player?

Miami, FL (Monday, January 21, 2019) –  

The Homegrown Player rule is one of several manners for a Major League Soccer club to acquire players. But how does it work?

Follow this link where I explain this mechanism in detail. Continue reading What is a Homegrown Player?

Revolution sign Massachusetts native/US U20 Int’l to Roster as Homegrown Player

Miami, FL (Friday, January 18, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –  

New England Revolution announced today that they have signed a highly coveted prospect as a Homegrown Player.

His name is Justin Rennicks, and he is a United States U20 forward who just completed an outstanding sophomore (2nd) season at Indiana University. Rennicks will forego his final two seasons of eligibility with the Hoosiers. Rennicks’ season for Indiana in 2018 included earning Second-Team All-Big Ten and First-Team All-North Region honours. He scored six goals on the year, including three match-winners, and started all 20 games he appeared in for IU.

“Justin was a talented and productive player during his time in our Academy, and he further distinguished himself at Indiana University and in the U.S. Youth National Team system,” Revs general manager Michael Burns said. “After monitoring his progress closely over the last two years, we felt this was the right time for Justin to take this next step in his development and join the first team.”

Rennicks was a key contributor on the United States U20 side that won the Concacaf U20 Championship in November and is expected to play a key part of Tab Ramos’ side in Poland at the U20 World Cup.

  • POSITION Midfielder/Forward
  • HT./WT. 5-11 / 165
  • HOMETOWN Hamilton, Mass.
  • HIGH SCHOOL Hamilton Wenham Regional

Univ. of Indiana player profile:  10, Justin Rennicks

During his time at the New England Revolution Academy, Rennicks scored 38 goals and 25 assists and was a three-time Academy Player of the Year.

On a lighter note, I can say with experience that he and his family have certainly logged a lot of miles on I-495.


Related on Russo Law & Soccer:

What Is The Homegrown Player Rule?

Major League Soccer has a complex set of rules that govern how the rosters of its clubs are filled. There is also a salary cap, with players occupying roster spots and having a “salary budget charge.”

An academy player may be signed as a “Homegrown Player” if he has been placed on a club’s homegrown player list and has met all necessary conditions. A detailed explanation of the Homegrown Player Rule can be found at: MLS Homegrown Player Rule

© 2019 Russo Law & Sports

La Academia del Club Internacional Names First 2 Coaches

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Announces Juan Carlos Michia and Victor Pastora as First Academy Coaches
 
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami anuncia a Juan Carlos Michia y a Victor Pastora como primeros entrenadores de su Academia.
 

Miami, FL (January 17, 2019) – via MLS Communications (with edits)

“La Academia” is in session. Very soon at least.

Today, Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (“Inter Miami CF”) announced the hiring of two local youth coaches with many accolades, Juan Carlos Michia and Victor Pastora, as the first two Inter Miami Academy Coaches.

“We welcome Juan Carlos and Victor to the Inter Miami family with open arms.” Said Paul McDonough, the club’s Sporting Director. “Juan Carlos and Victor will play a fundamental role in establishing the most important legacy pillar for the club: our Academy. A place where local talent can continue to develop their game at no cost and one day perhaps fulfill their dream of representing our community wearing the Inter Miami colors.”

 
Juan Carlos Michia
Juan Carlos Michia arrives this summer at Inter Miami CF at the conclusion of his current season with Weston Football Club.
 
His resume includes 3 years as the head coach of the U-12 team at Weston FC. His career in the youth and professional ranks, both as player and coach, expands more than 30 years and includes highlights such as the Under 20 FIFA World Cup in Argentina in 2003. He played with Quilmes AC of the Argentine first division for 3 years, in two seasons (1979, 1980) in the original NASL with the Houston Hurricane, plus several years in the MISL. He has dual USA-Argentina citizenship.
“I’m looking forward to building a new platform that compliments the existing system for local talent to develop in their own region,” said Michia. “As a player and as a coach, there is nothing better than being able to perform in front of your own community with the dream of becoming a professional player with your own local club.”
 
Víctor Pastora
Victor Pastora has been developing talent at the youth levels for more than 19 years, most recently as the Technical Director for Weston FC Academy. In the past 3 years, the development programs designed and implemented by Victor and his staff, have provided the opportunity for over 18 local players to be promoted into top professional clubs both in MLS and internationally. His programs have also constantly provided South Florida players to the U.S. Youth National Team programs as well as other Concacaf Federations. 
 
“It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to continue working with the South Florida player in a fully funded program with a direct pathway to professional soccer. I have great belief in the talent and character of the South Florida players, Inter Miami CF will provide the resources and support necessary to build a world class academy,” said Victor Pastora. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to the responsibility of building and representing this franchise.”

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Miami, FL (17 de enero, 2019) – por MLS Comunicaciones (editado)
 
¡Pronto empieza La Academia!
 
El Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami anunció el día de hoy que dos destacados entrenadores locales Juan Carlos Michia y Victor Pastora, se han unido al club como los dos primeros entrenadores de la Academia del Inter Miami.
 
“Damos la bienvenida con los brazos abiertos a Juan Carlos y a Victor a la familia del Inter Miami” dijo Paul McDonough,  director deportivo del equipo. “Juan Carlos y Victor desempeñarán un papel fundamental en establecer el principal pilar de legado de nuestro club: nuestra Academia. Un lugar donde el talento local puede seguir desarrollando su juego sin costo alguno, hasta cumplir un día su sueño de representar a nuestra comunidad vistiendo los colores del Inter Miami.”
 
Juan Carlos Michia se sumará al Inter Miami CF este verano, acabando la temporada actual como entrenador del equipo Sub 12 del Weston FC, dónde se ha desempeñado los últimos 3 años.
 
Su trayectoria profesional en equipos juveniles y profesionales, como entrenador y como jugador, se remonta a más de 30 años e incluye logros como la participación en la Copa Mundial Sub 20 de la FIFA, Argentina en 2003. Jugó 3 años con Quilmes de la primera división argentina, 2 temporadas con los Houston Hurricane de la NASL original en 1979 y 1980, y algunos años en el MISL.
 
“Espero con mucha emoción el poder unirme a este proyecto y crear una nueva plataforma para seguir desarrollando el talento local en nuestra comunidad”, dijo Juan Carlos Michia. “Como jugador y como entrenador, no hay nada más satisfactorio que poder jugar frente a tu propio publico soñando en debutar como profesional con tu equipo local”.
 
Victor Pastora, quién cuenta con mas de 19 años de carrera, ocupó recientemente el cargo de Director Técnico de la Academia de Weston FC. En los últimos 3 años, los programas de desarrollo creados e implementados por Victor y su equipo de trabajo le han brindado a más de 18 jugadores locales oportunidades en clubes profesionales en la MLS y a nivel internacional. Sus programas también han aportado una gran cantidad de jugadores del sur de la Florida a los programas de selección nacional juveniles de la Federación de los Estados Unidos y otras Federaciones en Concacaf.
 
“Es un privilegio tener la oportunidad de continuar trabajando con los jugadores del Sur de la Florida en un programa totalmente financiado que da acceso directo al fútbol profesional. Creo firmemente en el talento y carácter de los jugadores del área y encantado de que en el Inter Miami les podremos proporcionar los recursos adicionales y el apoyo necesarios para crear una academia de nivel mundial” dijo Victor Pastora. “Estoy muy agradecido por esta oportunidad y por la responsabilidad depositada en mí representando a esta franquicia”.

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O Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami anunciou hoje que dois excelentes treinadores locais, Juan Carlos Michia e Victor Pastora, se juntaram ao clube como os dois primeiros treinadores da Academia do Inter Miami.

O que eles disseram:

“Estou ansioso para construir uma nova plataforma que complemente o sistema existente, permitindo que os talentos locais cresçam em sua própria região”, disse Juan Carlos Michia. “Como jogador e treinador, não há nada melhor do que ter a oportunidade de jogar na frente da sua própria comunidade com o sonho de se tornar um jogador profissional no seu clube local.”

“É um privilégio ter a oportunidade de continuar trabalhando com jogadores do Sul da Flórida em um programa totalmente financiado que dá acesso direto ao futebol profissional. Acredito firmemente no talento e no caráter dos jogadores na área e estou muito contente com o fato de que, na Inter Miami, podemos fornecer a eles os recursos e o apoio necessários para criar uma academia de classe mundial “, disse Victor Pastora. “Estou muito grato por esta oportunidade e pela responsabilidade que me foi atribuída ao representar esta franquia.”

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Le Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami a annoncé aujourd’hui que deux entraîneurs locaux exceptionnels, Juan Carlos Michia et Victor Pastora, ont rejoint le club en tant que les deux premiers entraîneurs de la Académie d’Inter Miami.

Qu’est-ce qu’ils ont dit:

«Je suis impatient de construire une nouvelle plate-forme qui complète le système existant en permettant aux talents locaux de se développer dans leur propre région», a déclaré Juan Carlos Michia. “En tant que joueur et en tant qu’entraîneur, il n’y a rien de mieux que d’avoir l’occasion de jouer devant votre propre communauté avec le rêve de devenir un joueur professionnel avec votre club local.»

“C’est un privilège de pouvoir continuer à travailler avec des joueurs du sud de la Floride sur un programme entièrement financé qui donne un accès direct au football professionnel. Je crois fermement au talent et au caractère des joueurs de la région et je suis très heureux du fait que, à Inter Miami, nous pouvons leur fournir les ressources et le soutien dont ils ont besoin pour créer une académie de calibre mondial “, a déclaré Victor Pastora. “Je suis très reconnaissant pour cette opportunité et pour la responsabilité qui m’a été assignée de représenter cette franchise.”