Miami, Fla. (Monday, July 22, 2019 – by Kenneth Russo
After playing 70 minutes and scoring a goal for Estudiantes de La Plata this past Saturday in their 2-0 win over Club Mitre in the Copa Argentina (Twitter @copaargentina), Matías Pellegrini and his representative Gustavo Ghezzi flew to Miami yesterday, according to El Día in Argentina.
Today, he will have a medical exam and meet with Jorge Más and Inter Miami team officials to finalize his contract. The self-described “lightning trip” is because “Mati” intends to be able to play for Estudiantes’ this coming Sunday in the first game of the 2019 Argentina Superliga (La Primera División) versus Aldosivi. “No me voy a perder ningún partido.” – “I’m not going to miss a single game,” the young midfielder assured the media. Pellegrini’s transfer is reportedly in the $9 to $10 million range, with performance incentives structured into the deal.
Once officially an Inter player, the plan is for him to remain with Estudiantes on loan until the end of the year, which means he can complete the revised Argentine Superliga calendar prior to joining Club Internacional de Fútbol for training camp in early 2020.
According to various Argentine media outlets, Inter Miami is simultaneously working on a $6 million deal for 19-year-old Club Atlético Banfield forward Julián Carranza, who would also stay with his club through the end of the year and report to Inter Miami sometime between January and March 2020. Carranza has reportedly already been to Miami and taken his medical exam, which was described as “demanding.”
When asked about the status of negotiations for Inter’s first players, Sporting Director Paul McDonough told The Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman:
McDonough, who is in charge of building the roster and leading the team’s on-field soccer operations, also told Kaufman that the negotiations are complicated because some players require to be moved to another club on loan in order to continue to play during the next six months. With that come the finances that have to be also ironed out. Most often, players who are loaned out have their wages paid by the team that they are loaned to. However, in the end it’s about what the parties agree to. More importantly, Inter Miami must also work within the confines of MLS’ salary budget universe, where each player is assigned a “Salary Budget Charge,” the maximum being $530,000. There is also a limit of up to three “Designated Players,” whose total salary and acquisition costs exceed the maximum salary budget charge. Assembling the type of team that will electrify fans and get attention in Miami will require skillful handling of these considerations.
“We are in contract negotiations with up to six or seven players, heavily involved in that right now, with all levels of guys,” McDonough said. “We will have announcements coming soon. We’re close. We’d like to have between four and eight signed by September.”
Miami is in contract negotiations with six or seven players, and the first couple could be signed by July 31, according to McDonough.
McDonough is a proven expert at working out these nuances though, and it won’t be long before fans of the Rosanegra have real players to follow.
Miami, Fla. (Monday, July 15, 2019) – Kenneth Russo / Photos by Felipe Galvez Tabach –
Saturday night’s latest rendition of the Magic City Clásico was indeed befitting of its title. Miami Football Club came from behind to defeat Miami United FC 3-2 in the NPSL Sunshine Conference Final at Barry University, capturing its sixth overall trophy in the process. The game was fiercely contested and thoroughly entertaining.
Miami United FC (4-4-2):
Miami FC Starting Lineup (4-3-3)
Cheered on by La 12 United and one of Inter Miami CF’s supporter groups, Vice City 1896, Miami United came into Buccaneer Field as the underdog but ready to send a message to their crosstown rivals. Roberto Sacca’s team had defeated Naples United last Wednesday in Naples to set up the matchup for the conference championship.
Unfortunately, United were without two key players; left-back Max Schenfeld and goalkeeper Peterson Occenat. Occenat has been suspended for an abuse of an official in the final regular-season match at Naples, while Schenfeld was serving a suspension due to being expelled in the semi-final.
Miami FC began the game with good ball movement and were able to get past the middle of the United defense. The first minutes saw an overhead bicycle kick attempt by Miami FC’s Mohamed Thiaw that went just over the net.
After two early chances by United, Miami FC then drew first blood. A free kick by Dylan Mares was mishandled by United defender Javier Chila during chaos in the box. The referee whistled for a handball in the area. Ariel Martinez, known as the “Magic City Mago,” stepped up to the penalty spot and chipped a “Panenka” (a chip shot) straight down the middle and past diving United goalkeeper Omar Estrada for a 1-0 Miami FC lead in the 8th minute.
United regained the momentum however. Midfielder Matheus Gotler narrowly missed scoring chances in the 23’ and 26’, one shot missing just to the right of goal and the other being deflected off the horizontal crossbar. United were throughly outplaying Miami FC and the effort paid dividends in the 34’ when Defender Bruno Camacho headed a corner kick by Gotler into the goal to equalise 1-1.
Four minutes later United were on the score sheet again as they broke out on a counterattack and a long aerial pass found forward Brian Parea, who beat defender Jalen Markey and crossed to Forward Shamar Shelton. Shelton raced in to meet the ball as it was rolling across the face of goal and was able to bury it into the net, promptly celebrating his goal with a perfectly executed forward somersault. United nearly added a third in first half stoppage time on a shot that was kicked out and high by a Miami FC defender. The 2-1 scoreline held at the halftime break.
Miami FC Manager Paul Dalglish seemed to make halftime adjustments and the club came out in full force in the second half, creating scoring chances and a couple of near misses. In the 57th minute a through ball by Mohamed Thiaw split the United defense open, finding Miguel González, who ran on to the ball and played it to the middle for Dylan Mares. The midfielder played the ball off to Martínez next to him, who unleashed a potent volley that beat an outstretched Omar Estrada to level at 2-2.
Ten minutes later a pass by Mares found Ariel Martinez in front of the Miami United goalkeeper. Martínez dribbled to his right and as keeper Omar Estrada came out, Martínez then played the ball to the middle of the box for Miguel González, who tapped the ball into the empty net and put Miami FC ahead, 3-2.
After taking the lead, Miami FC continued to attack, nearly adding to their advantage on a Mohamed Thiaw attempt in the 73rd minute that barely missed wide. United, however, were not finished and pressured a visibly tired Miami FC side late in the match. Miami FC’s defense met the challenge and held together during a long second half stoppage time caused by injuries and substitutions. As the referee blew the final whistle, a well played match saw Miami United fall just short. Miami FC thus went out victorious in the Sunshine Conference Final.
Next up for Miami FC is a match against Chattanooga FC, champions of the Southeast Conference, at Buccaneer Field at Barry University in the NPSL South Regional Semifinal, Tuesday, July 16th at 7 p.m. .
Miami FC goals 🎥 via Miami FC
Miami FC celebrates the victory. 🎥via Miami FC
9’ – Miami FC: Ariel Martínez (pen.)
34’ – Miami United: Bruno Camacho
38’ – Miami United: Shamar Shelton
57’ – Miami FC: Ariel Martínez
67’ – Miami FC: Miguel Gonzalez
46’ – Miami FC: Out – #45 Jalen Markey > In – #2 Othello Bah
64’ – Miami United: Out – #5 Ezequiel Tejera > In – #6 Juan González
69’ – Miami United: Out – #7 Shamar Shelton > In – #2 Darryl Gordon
70’ – Miami United: Out – #13 Juan Fuenmayor > In – #19 Nicolas Micoli
88’ – Miami United: Out – #26 Bernanrdo Chila > In – #8 Chris Nurse
88’ – Miami FC: Out – #12 Miguel González > In- #8 Tomás Granitto
90’ – Miami FC: Out – #10 Ariel Martínez > In – #17 Brian James
A report broadcast today by Radio La Red AM 910 in Buenos Aires (Twitter @radiolared) states that Argentine club Estudiantes De La Plata are close to reaching an agreement with Inter Miami CF that will bring winger Matías Pellegrini to the new MLS club.
The deal is reportedly for $10 million USD. Pellegrini would leave Estudiantes in February 2020 in time to join the Rosa y Negra for their debut in MLS in March 2020. Club Estudiantes de La Plata would also receive 10 percent of any future transfer of the player by Inter Miami.
Neither club has made any comment about the alleged deal. This is the second reported transfer of a player to Inter Miami. Last Friday, TyC Sports reported that Inter Miami and Club Atlético Banfield had reached a deal for Julián Carranza.
Pellegrini, who turned 19 on March 11th, is a native of Magdalena, Argentina. His primary positions are as a left winger and centre forward. He was promoted to the first team in August 2018, having been part of Estudiantes’ reserve (U20) squad prior to that. His first goal as a professional cane against Boca Juniors. He has made 15 appearances for Estudiantes this season, with three goals and one assist. He has logged 1,053 minutes across all competitions (903’ in Primera División and 150’ in the Copa Libertadores).
If true, and if the report from last Friday concerning attacker Julián Carranza’s transfer from CA Banfield is also accurate, then Inter will have spent $16 million USD to bring two young, talented and promising players from Argentina to Inter Miami. It’s a pretty strong statement about the club’s desire to make an immediate impact in MLS during the first season. It also mirrors the types of moves Sporting Director Paul McDonough made in his previous role with Atlanta United FC.
While there is no confirmation either of this transaction or Carranza’s, it is relevant to note that the summer transfer window in Argentina runs from July 3 to Sept. 24, 2019. Also, for MLS, the secondary transfer window is from July 9 to Aug. 7, 2019, and any deal, even if already agreed to, would generally not be announced until the window is open.
Here are clips from a recent game Pellegrini played for Estudiantes against Racing and a longer video featuring some of the player’s highlights from this season:
Update: Friday, July 12, 2019: Argentine sports media outlet TyC Sports continues to report that Pellegrini’s signing could be announced quickly and that the deal includes performance objectives that, if met, could make the deal worth $13 million dollars to Estudiantes de la Plata.
According to Argentine Sports Network TyCSports, Inter Miami have agreed on a $6 Million USD deal with Club Atlético Banfield for striker Julián Carranza. The 19-year-old will join the Rosa y Negra for the 2020 season. If true, this would make him the first signing by the new Miami side. There has been no official word from Inter Miami as of the time of this writing.
The deal reportedly includes additional compensation to be paid by Inter should Carranza meet certain performance bonuses. Also included is a ten percent sell-on clause in the event of a future transfer.
There has been much anticipation that Inter Miami were close to making a first signing announcement. In recent weeks. seemingly every well-known player at the end of his contract or being discussed as a transfer target has been linked with Inter Miami. However, something about this report seems more likely to be true, considering Sporting Director Paul McDonough’s history in building the roster of Atlanta United FC, and insights he has shared regarding the anticipated presence of South American players on the Inter Miami roster. McDonough’s building of the Atlanta United roster set the trend for big money signings of both established players (ex. Pity Martinez) and young players with great potential (ex. Ezequiel Barco) from Argentina.
According to sources, Italian Serie A side Genoa were targeting Carranza, having also been in Argentina and negotiating to sign Pedro De La Vega from Lanús.
To add credibility to this report, Carranza was definitely in Miami in recent days, posting this picture from the Wynwood Walls on his Instagram account:
Here is a video from Youtube that shows some clips from Carranza’s 2018-2019 season with Banfield.
Carranza, who turned 19 in May, is in his second season as a professional. He joined the senior squad of Banfield in 2017. Since then, he has made 29 career appearances for them, scoring 8 goals. He has logged 1,871 minutes across all competitions. Carranza featured in two matches for the Argentina U17 team at the 2017 South American Championship in Chile, and has also trained with the U20 team.
Prior to playing as a professional with El Taladro, Carranza came through Banfield’s academy system. He would join Inter Miami at the end of 2019 in order to be ready for the Rosa y Negra’s inaugural season in MLS in March 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.