Only a week ago there were serious talks of a new NASL franchise from Hartford, Connecticut called Hartford City FC. The talk of the league now is of the new, 12th team in the North American Soccer League, Miami FC. This news is a huge surprise to a lot of the fans, but this writer is especially shocked. The main debate in Miami has been David Beckham’s ownership group and their bid for an MLS team in South Florida, but they have failed to make stadium agreements with the city. MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, is demanding that there be a soccer specific stadium built for Miami to obtain an MLS club and that has halted talks. In the meantime, co owners Riccardo Silva and Paolo Maldini have come into the Capital of Latin America and taken charge of professional soccer in Miami.
There have been reports constantly throughout media about Beckham and his group shooting for MLS, but not Maldini and Silva aiming for NASL soccer. This news is great for the ownership of Silva and Maldini as they capitalized on fortunate circumstances to get their team into the picture and before MLS made its way to the city.
Miami FC is planning on joining the league for their inaugural season right around the corner, in 2016. There has not been a home stadium announced by according to NASL, Miami FC will play in an already existing stadium in Miami. Some ideas of where Miami FC could play are FIU Stadium, or even Sun Life Stadium, but we still are not sure and are awaiting details. The team will play in U.S. Open Cup starting next year, and will host international friendlies, and tournaments.
Riccardo Silva will expose Miami FC heavily when they take the field, providing broadcasting of the club worldwide to 50 television channels in more than 150 countries. MP & Silva is also a shareholder of the club. Along with other international investors, Antonio Barreto is a main investor and will be CEO of Miami FC. It will be interesting to see what kind of team Miami FC displays onto the field with the world class 25 year soccer veteran, Paolo Maldini at the helm of the club. Will we be looking at a South American based team due to climate and geographical reasoning, or will Maldini dive into the market of Italian players? Maybe we see Mario Balotelli coming to Miami FC, hahaha wouldn’t that be something.
Is Miami a good market for NASL? It’s a good market for any professional soccer club. The city meets requirements for the MLS, it is a huge city with a lot of soccer influence, and there is a want for a professional team down South. For Maldini and Silva to reach agreement for a club in Miami, it is a huge accomplishment for the two owners, the city, and the NASL. Bill Peterson and Silva/Maldini achieved in bringing a team to NASL from Miami, and that must be a hard pill to swallow for Garber and Beckham.
What does this mean for Armada FC? Another road trip! Also, another team that can join the Coastal Cup, and another Florida Derby for our boys in blue. Miami FC are going to be a challenge with very professional ownership groups, looking to build a strong side and bring a brand of professional soccer to Miami. Being an Armada supporter, this is exciting news, for our club and for the NASL. Another Florida team leads to a potential rivalry of the two newest clubs in the league. As well as rivalry, it will be exciting for Jacksonville’s faithful to see these fixtures on the list for next season. There is always a sense to want to beat Miami if you are from Jacksonville. For the NASL, they are expanding! Armada this year, Miami next year, and reports of Hartford being another new team in the league, is a sign that Bill Peterson is working hard to solidify this league.
Andrea Pirlo will be first signee for Miami FC.