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

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

Inter Miami CF Enters Into Agreement with KIN

KIN Partners will be the exclusive sponsorship sales representation agency.

Miami, FL (Tuesday, February 5, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (“Inter Miami CF”) continues to make impressive steps in its development, now with slightly more than one year before it kicks off play in North America’s Major League Soccer.

The club announced on February 1, 2019, that it has entered into a contract with the London-based firm, which is headed up by industry veterans Simon Oliveira and Matthew Kay, KIN recently expanded into Miami and Oliveira, the Managing Director of KIN, has previously worked on Beckham’s other business projects. Among KIN’s roster of international clients is Neymar, Jr.

KIN’s role will be to identify and develop sponsorship opportunities for the expansion club.

“Miami is recognised as a global city with a mix of wonderful cultures and we cannot wait to start working with both the vastly impressive ownership group and one of the most exciting properties in world sports today,” said Matthew Kay.

The announcement comes within days after Inter Miami put forward plans to build a training facility, including a multi-purpose stadium, on the site of the Lockhart Stadium, previously used by the now defunct North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Given the transformational aspect of Miami Freedom Park, partnering with an international agency appears to be a smart move. Interest in Inter Miami CF has been high, and the home of the team, in addition to a 25,000 seat stadium, a public park and public soccer fields, will feature hotel, entertainment and retail space as well as a technology hub. It is a US$1 billion complex that will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city, county, state and school board.

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Original Supporters’ Group Southern Legion / La Legion Del Sur, issues statement amid reports of a rebrand.

Miami, FL (Saturday, February 2, 2019)

Third supporters’ group emerges in the most bizarre fashion.

In a pure sign of increasing enthusiasm and interest in the run up to Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami’s (Inter Miami CF) inaugural season in 2020, the community of supporters’ groups has now grown to three.

This after several members of the original supporters’ group Southern Legion / La Legion del Sur, split away from the established organisation to form a new one. It appears that this new splinter group is also furthering confusion amongst Miami soccer fans by alleging that they in fact are the Southern Legion, rather than calling themselves a newly formed group. A press release to this effect was even issued on the new group’s website. The group, calling themselves the Siege, reportedly has assumed control over the real Southern Legion’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, renaming those accounts to reflect the branding of the new group.

The logo of Southern Legion / Legion del Sur

A look at the Southern Legion twitter account suggests that the breakaway group was the result of collusion between at least two Legion members.

https://twitter.com/southern_legion/status/1091889035046469632?s=21

On Friday, the Board of Directors of the real Southern Legion / Legion del Sur, took to Twitter to defend the group’s brand and clear up the confusion:

What we do know is that Southern Legion / Legion del Sur traces its origins to 2008, around the time the mighty FC Barcelona was looking to enter into a partnership to bring a Barça branded club to MLS in Miami.

Ever since then, the Legion, as they are called for short, has been a driving force to increase awareness and support for soccer in Miami, and an MLS club in Vice City, in particular.

They have been seen at events including soccer matches, lower division team games, political rallies and countless city and county hearings. Their scarves and shirts have traveled the globe.

https://twitter.com/southern_legion/status/562665570639028225?s=21

So instrumental was the Legion to the efforts of David Beckham, Marcelo Claure, and new investors Jorge and Jose Mas to finally land Inter Miami, that they were given preferred seating at the official announcement of the team back in January 29, 2018 and were singled out by Marcelo Claure in his speech that day at the Knight Concert Hall.

Marcelo Claure at the official unveiling of Fútbol Miami MLS on January 29. 2018.

While details are scarce, it seems readily apparent that some inner circle members of Southern Legion felt that a name change and brand was a way to stake a claim to being the “official” supporters group for Inter Miami CF. As the months went by after the official birth of the team, a second supporters’ group, Vice City 1896, emerged. With two strong groups in place, any notion that there would be only one supporters’ group, let alone an “official” one, was neither realistic nor practical. In such an environment, there should be intrinsic value in having an established brand.

What can be confirmed at present is that Inter Miami CF now has three supporters’ groups. And Southern Legion / Legion del Sur is definitely one of them:

https://twitter.com/southern_legion/status/1092150419059548160?s=21

Of course, having multiple supporters’ groups is anything but a bad sign. Within Major League Soccer, most, if not all of the clubs, have more than one such group. It is also common place in Europe and South America. In a place as diverse as Miami, multiple groups only seems natural. The next step will be to harness this passion into creating an unparalleled game day atmosphere.

Southern Legion marches on January 29, 2018.

Major League Soccer Libera a Patrocínio De Manga Para A Temporada 2020

Miami, FL (4a feira, 23 do janeiro 2019) – Kenneth Russo –

Seguindo o modelo adotado do Premier League, a Major League Soccer anunciou em 23 de outubro de 2018 que irá liberar os times para fecharem patrocínios de manga para a temporada 2020. Essa medida visa incrementar as receitas das equipes que disputam a liga.

Os potenciais novos acordos deverão variar entre  US$ 500 mil e US$ 1 milhão por temporada. Para efeito comparativo, os gigantes da elite inglesa possuem acordos que variam de US$ 13 milhões e US$ 26 milhões (£ 10 milhões a £ 15 milhões).

“O patch de manga é uma excelente oportunidade para as marcas se conectarem à nossa Liga e aos clubes de formas mutuamente benéficas”, disse Gary Stevenson, Presidente e Diretor Administrativo da MLS Business Ventures. “À medida que a nossa Liga continua a se expandir e com mais fãs nos EUA e no Canadá assistindo a nossos jogos, participando de nossos jogos e interagindo com mídias sociais, a visibilidade os patrocinadores de mangas será substancial.”

Para mas detalhes (em inglês), clique o link:

Sleeve Sponsorships

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?

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”.

—————–

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.”

—————–

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.”