Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (lit. International Miami Football Club), known as Inter Miami CF or Inter Miami (Spanish: Inter de Miami), is an American professional soccer club based in the Miami metropolitan area.

Inter Miami
Full nameClub Internacional de Fútbol Miami
Nickname(s)The Herons
Vice City
(El) Inter[1]
Short nameInter Miami
FoundedJanuary 29, 2018; 6 years ago (2018-01-29)
StadiumChase Stadium
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Capacity21,550[2]
Owners
PresidentDavid Beckham
Head coachGerardo Martino
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2023Eastern Conference: 14th
Overall: 27th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website
Current season

On January 29, 2018, Major League Soccer (MLS) officially approved David Beckham's expansion team in Miami.[3][4] Since it began playing in the Eastern Conference in the 2020 season, the club has signed several high-profile players such as Blaise Matuidi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Lionel Messi, and Luis Suárez.

The club garnered international attention prior to its founding because of club president and co-owner David Beckham, and again in 2023 with the aforementioned signing of Lionel Messi on a free transfer. Following the signing, the club won its first major trophy, the expanded 2023 Leagues Cup, the North American competitions for the CONCACAF region, which also qualified the team to the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup for the first time. The team's Forbes estimated value is $1.03 billion as of 2024, ranking second in the league behind Los Angeles FC.[5]

History edit

Expansion edit

In November 2012, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league's renewed interest in placing an expansion franchise in Miami,[6] after the Miami Fusion folded following the 2001 season and an expansion bid led by Miami-based Bolivian telecom entrepreneur Marcelo Claure and FC Barcelona failed in 2009.[7] A Miami expansion team led by Barcelona and Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian businessman based in the city, announced an expansion bid in October 2008, with plans to begin play in 2011.[8] In March 2009, the league and Barcelona announced that Miami was no longer a candidate due to local market conditions.[9] Additionally, MLS expressed concerns about Miami's lack of fan interest in an MLS franchise, the fact that USL team Miami FC was not doing well,[according to whom?] and the plan to use FIU Stadium relegating the team to a secondary tenant in a college football stadium with an artificial surface.[10][11] However, Garber said that Miami would be an expansion target in the future.[12] Claure later joined David Beckham's group of investors for the Miami expansion bid that was accepted by the league in 2014.

When David Beckham, whose business manager Simon Fuller had the idea[13] of giving him an option to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league in 2007,[14] ended his playing career in April 2013, the MLS held discussions with Fuller about several expansion targets, including Miami.[15] That same year, other investors, including Italian financier Alessandro Butini[16] and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross expressed interest in owning a Miami franchise as well.[17] In 2013, Fuller and Beckham discussed plans to buy an MLS soccer team in Miami [18]

In 2013, when David Beckham was interviewed by CNN, he thanked Fuller for the ground breaking [according to whom?]MLS deal he had negotiated back in 2007 and specifically the clause that Fuller had insisted on inserting to the player's benefit: “When I signed my contract six, seven years ago, my manager Simon Fuller actually got a clause in the contract that enabled me to have a franchise at the end of my playing career”.[19] In his December 2013 State of the League address, Garber had identified Beckham and Fuller as potential owners in Miami.[20] Later that month, on December 17, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted unanimously to allow Mayor Carlos A. Giménez to negotiate with the Beckham-led group on a new stadium in downtown Miami.[21] The league announced that Beckham exercised his option on February 5, 2014,[22] and that Miami Beckham United,[23] the investment group led by Beckham, Fuller and Claure, would own an expansion franchise in Miami, assuming that financing for a stadium could be agreed upon.[24] In presentations to officials and potential investors, the ownership group used "Miami Vice" and "Miami Current" as working titles for the club.[25] After its initial stadium proposals fell through, Commissioner Garber reiterated in August 2014 that the expansion would not be approved until a downtown stadium plan was secured and it was only after Fuller introduced Beckham to the Jorge and José Mas, that the plan was green lit.[26][27] In an August 2014 Q&A session, deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said Miami would be the 23rd team as long as a downtown stadium deal could be reached.[28] Beckham bought Fuller out in May 2019.[29]

On January 29, 2018, the Miami Beckham United group (consisting of Beckham, Claure, Fuller, Masayoshi Son [founder and CEO of SoftBank] and Jorge and José Mas, the Miami-based leaders of telecommunications and construction company MasTec) four years after the ownership's original announcement of pursuing a team, was awarded the twenty-fifth MLS franchise and was set to launch in the 2020 season.[30][31] The announcement represented part of a larger MLS expansion that would increase its number of teams to 26 by 2020 and 30 after that. Since Beckham's original announcement of his intention to place a team in Miami in 2014, Orlando City SC, New York City FC, Atlanta United FC, Minnesota United FC, Los Angeles FC, and FC Cincinnati have all begun MLS play. Paul McDonough was hired as sporting director effective August 4.[32] The team's ownership group was later renamed Miami Freedom Park LLC.[33] They announced Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, shortened to Inter Miami CF, as the club's official name on September 5, 2018.[34] MLS returned to the South Florida area in 2018, when Inter Miami CF was announced. On January 29, 2018, the Miami Beckham United group, four years after the ownership's original announcement of pursuing a team, was awarded the twenty-fifth MLS franchise and launched in the 2020 season, playing on the site of Lockhart Stadium at the new Chase Stadium. Former Fusion coach Ray Hudson would go on to work as a color commentator for Inter Miami, while former Fusion player Chris Henderson is the club's current Sporting Director.[35][36]

On December 30, 2019, former Uruguay national team player and C.F. Monterrey manager Diego Alonso was announced as the club's inaugural head coach.[37][38] On February 14, 2020, Pizarro left Monterrey for Major League Soccer expansion side Inter Miami, following a protracted dispute between the clubs about the activation of his release clause, rejoining head coach Diego Alonso for a third time, his coach at both Pachuca and Monterrey.[39] The following day, despite not officially being announced as a signing for the club, Pizarro scored the first goal for Miami in a 2–1 preseason friendly loss to Philadelphia Union.[40] That same day, Monterrey filed a complaint with FIFA against Pizarro and Inter Miami for improper contact between the player and Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham while Pizarro was still under contract with Monterrey. FIFA's investigation was still on-going when news of the complaint broke on March 4.[41]

Early years (2020–2023) edit

 
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuaín signed with Miami in September 2020.

Inter Miami's first MLS game was played on March 1, 2020, losing 1–0, away to Los Angeles FC.[42] Designated Player Rodolfo Pizarro scored the first goal in Inter Miami history the following game on March 7, in a 2–1 loss to D.C. United.[43] Their first home match was supposed to be on March 14, 2020, against LA Galaxy, Beckham's former club. The match has since been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[44] On August 23, 2020, Inter Miami recorded their first franchise victory, 3–2 over Orlando City SC.[45] On January 7, 2021, Diego Alonso left by mutual consent.[46] On January 18, 2021, England Women's manager Phil Neville was appointed as the new head coach, and Seattle Sounders FC's Chris Henderson as chief soccer officer and sporting director.[47][48][49] On March 23, 2021, it was announced that Kieran Gibbs would join Major League Soccer side Inter Miami CF when his contract with West Brom expired in the summer.[50] On February 23, 2023, Gibbs and Miami mutually agreed to terminate his deal at the club. He subsequently joined the club's broadcasting team.[51] On August 13, 2020, Matuidi signed for Major League Soccer club Inter Miami on a free transfer.[52][53] He made his club debut on September 6, in a scoreless home draw against Nashville in the MLS.[54] In January 2022, Matuidi was left off Inter Miami’s roster for the 2022 season.[55][56] On December 23, 2022, Matuidi announced his retirement from professional soccer after an 18 year long career.[57] On January 26, 2022, Romeo Beckham made his non-competitive senior debut for Inter Miami during a 4–0 pre-season win against Club Universitario de Deportes.[58]

In 2021, the Mas brothers finalized a buyout to take over majority ownership of the team from Claure and Son.[59] On May 28, 2021, MLS announced that it would sanction Inter Miami CF, owner Jorge Mas, and former sporting director Paul McDonough for violating roster rules during the 2020 season. The club had signed Blaise Matuidi and Andrés Reyes using targeted allocation money (TAM) to comply with salary cap requirements and avoid using its three Designated Player slots, but were found to have exceeded the TAM maximum of $1.61 million per player. MLS fined the club $2 million and reduced its allocation dollars by $2.27 million for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, while Mas was fined $250,000 and McDonough was suspended from league activities through the end of the 2022 season.[60] In May 2021, Inter Miami had to pay a $2m fine for breaking MLS rules, as Matuidi was the fourth designated player in the team rather than the permitted three.[61] Prior to the announcement, Matuidi was reclassified as a Designated Player by taking the slot occupied by Matías Pellegrini, who was loaned to Inter Miami CF II after his contract was bought out by the club.[62] On July 19, 2022, Inter Miami had a friendly game match with the FC Barcelona losing to 0-6.[63] On September 18, 2020, Higuaín signed for Major League Soccer club Inter Miami CF.[64] On his debut, he missed a penalty and then started a fight as Miami fell to a 3–0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union.[65] On October 7, Higuaín scored his first goal for Miami, a late free kick in their 2–1 win against the New York Red Bulls.[66] On July 31, 2022, Higuaín scored another free-kick for Inter Miami, and then netted two more goals to complete a first-half hat-trick in 27 minutes against FC Cincinnati in a 4–4 draw.[67] Higuaín retired at the end of Inter Miami's 2022 MLS season; his last game was in the first round of the MLS playoffs, ending in 3–0 away loss to New York City FC.[68]

On January 20, 2022, it was announced that Leonardo Campana would join Major League Soccer club Inter Miami on a season-long loan.[69] He made his debut for Inter Miami on February 26, 2022, starting in a 0–0 draw versus Chicago Fire FC.[70] Campana scored his first goal for Inter Miami on March 6, 2022, their only goal in a 5–1 loss to Austin FC.[71] Campana was named MLS Player of the Week for Week 6 of the 2022 season on April 11, 2022, for his hat trick against the New England Revolution.[72] Campana signed with Miami on a permanent basis on January 20, 2023. He occupies a Young Designated Player roster slot and is signed through the end of the 2025 season, with a club option to extend through 2026.[73] On September 15, 2023, Inter Miami CF announced its signing of forward Leonardo Campana to a contract extension through the 2027 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, with an option for 2028.[74] On January 18, 2023, it was announced that Josef Martínez had been traded to Inter Miami.[75] Martínez made his 2023 Inter Miami season debut in a match against CF Montréal on February 25, 2023, ending in a 2–0 win.[76]

DeAndre Yedlin joined Inter Miami on February 2, 2022, on a four-year contract with an additional one-year option.[77] "It's almost a DP signing for us, really, in terms of his quality," Head coach Phil Neville said. "He's played at the top, top level in the top soccer nations in the world. So we hope his experience, his quality, his leadership, and the fact that he's American I think is really important. We have a young, new team and we want experience in there as well." Yedlin stated "I know when I was in MLS, [defending] was a weakness in my game," after the move was announced. "Not only 1-v-1 but positionally. But now I'm coming back, being in a lot of different situations and a lot of different formations, playing different positions to a point now where I'm a lot more comfortable in those situations. I think I'm a lot better defender now than I was when I left."[78]

Lionel Messi era (2023–present) edit

 
Argentine forward Lionel Messi signed with Miami in July 2023.

On June 1, 2023, Inter Miami announced that the club had parted ways with Neville. At the time, the club was placed last in the Eastern Conference.[79] Four days later, then seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi announced his intention to join the club as a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, turning down an offer to play for Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal and ruling out a return to FC Barcelona.[80] Messi signed his Designated Player contract on July 15, 2023, joining the team through the 2025 MLS season.[81] Argentine and former Barça manager Gerardo Martino was appointed as the head coach of the club on June 28 and joined Miami the following month.[82]

Messi formally joined the team, alongside former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets, at an unveiling ceremony on July 16.[83] Five days later, another of his former Barcelona teammates, Jordi Alba, also signed for Inter Miami.[84] Following Messi's arrival, resale ticket prices for his first games with the club increased by over 1,000%. Inter Miami became the top selling team across all sports on e-commerce retailer Fanatics, while Messi broke the record for most shirt sales in 24 hours.[85] The average price for tickets to Miami matches on reseller StubHub increased five-fold to $161 on average.[86] After the arrival of Messi, only basketball giants LA Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors could claim to best the MLS outfit's haul of 15.4m followers on Instagram in the United States. [87] Inter Miami was named one of the top Google searches of 2023.[88] Forbes made Inter Miami its second MLS club to reach the billion-dollar valuation at $1.03 billion, a 72 percent bump from 2023. Asensi said the club will make north of $200 million in revenue in 2024, far beyond the team’s revenue figures in 2022, which was reported to be between $50 and $60 million.[89] Inter Miami was also invited to compete or participate in the Copa Libertadores.[90] On July 17, 2023, Messi's unveiling presentation gained over 3.5 billion views worldwide.[91]

Messi and Busquets made their debuts on July 21, 2023, at home in a 2–1 win over Cruz Azul in the 2023 Leagues Cup, with both players coming on in the 54th minute.[92] Messi scored the winning goal from a free-kick in stoppage time, ending Miami's 11 game winless streak.[93] On August 19, in the 2023 Leagues Cup final against Nashville SC, Inter Miami lifted its first-ever trophy, winning 10–9 in penalties after a 1–1 draw.[94] Following the Leagues Cup win, Inter Miami qualified for the CONCACAF Champions Cup for the first time in the club's history; the team will start in the round of 16.[95]

On August 23, 2023, in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, Inter Miami beat FC Cincinnati in penalties 5–4 after a 3–3 draw in extra time to go into the final on September 27, where they lost against the Houston Dynamo FC 2–1, after Messi was unable to play.[96]

On August 26, 2023, Messi, Busquets and Alba marked their first appearances in the MLS against New York Red Bulls, which ended in a 2–0 victory.[97] Both players being brought in as substitutes in the 60th minute, and Messi netted the concluding goal. On September 16, 2023, Inter Miami were defeated for the first time in the Messi era without Messi or Alba playing against Atlanta United FC, being defeated 5–2, ending their 12-match unbeaten run.[98] On October 7, 2023, Inter Miami were defeated by FC Cincinnati, despite Messi being subbed on in the 55th minute. This result eliminated them from making the MLS playoffs.[99] The Decision Day match between Inter Miami and Charlotte FC was held on October 21, 2023. Inter Miami were defeated 1–0, despite having Messi in for the entire match. This match marked the first time for Inter Miami that Messi played on artificial turf and wore away colors.[100]

On October 30, 2023, Inter Miami became the only MLS team to have a current player win the Ballon d'Or while at the club, when Messi secured his 8th award.[101] Because of this, Inter Miami CF held a friendly match with New York City FC named Noche d'Or. Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or was presented at DRV PNK Stadium while the team lost 2–1.[102]

In November 2023, Inter Miami were going to visit two Chinese Super League teams, Qingdao Hainiu F.C. and Chengdu Rongcheng F.C., in friendly matches as part of the club's first ever international tour.[103] However, it was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances in China.[104]

In the summer of 2023, plans were made for Suárez to join Inter Miami for a reunion with former FC Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba. However, his contract with Grêmio did not allow him to join the club. In October, Inter Miami's head coach, Gerardo Martino, said that the club was planning on the possible arrival of Suárez in 2024, having had an analysis of the 2024 season with and without Suárez.[105] By November, multiple reports indicated that Suárez was set to join Inter Miami on a one-year deal with an option for a further year.[106][107][108] On 22 December 2023, Inter Miami officially announced Suárez would join the club for the 2024 season.[109][110] In December 2023, Inter Miami signed striker Luis Suarez with a one year Contract with an option for a further year.[111]

In 2024, Inter Miami began their first seven preseason matches of the year, going against the El Salvador national team, FC Dallas, Hong Kong XI, Vissel Kobe, and Newell's Old Boys, as well as participating in the Riyadh Season Cup against two Saudi Pro League teams being Al-Hilal and Al Nassr.[112] However, there was a massive controversy with the Hong Kong match as Messi was not active for the match due to an injury which caused fans to demand refunds and attack promotional posters of Messi. Messi would be active in the match against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo two days later, which also caused many Hong Konger and Chinese fans to accuse Messi of skipping out of the Hong Kong match in order to embarrass the local government as well as holding racist views against Hong Kongers and Chinese people due to China and Japan having had very strained relations.[113] The Argentine Football Association and Chinese Football Association paused their partnership as a result of the fallout.[114]

On February 23, 2024, Federico Redondo completed his transfer to Major League Soccer club Inter Miami CF, signing a contract that extends through the 2027 season, with an option for the club to extend it through 2028.[115][116] He joined the club under the U22 Initiative, brought in as a season-ending injury replacement for another U22 Initiative player, Facundo Farías.[115] The transfer was contingent upon the successful receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 visa, formalities necessary for players moving between countries and competing in the United States, respectively.[115] Considered to be a classy and promising young player in the media, his playing style, reading of the game, height, and physique have led pundits to liken him to his father, Fernando, as well as Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets.[117][118][119][120]

On March 4 of 2024, DeAndre Yedlin announced his move to FC Cincinnati.[121]

Colors and badge edit

The Miami Beckham United group unveiled the team's name and colors on September 5, 2018.[122] The name was announced as Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (Inter Miami CF). The crest, designed in style and colors that recall the city's Art Deco architectural tradition, displays two great white herons with interlocking legs forming a letter M. Between the herons is an eclipse, the sun bearing seven rays in an homage to the number Beckham often wore as a player.[123][124][125][126][127] The full achievement displays the team name encircling all with the Roman numerals MMXX representing the year 2020, the inaugural season of play.[128] The three pointed shield represents the three main communities of South Florida: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The club's colors are pink, white, black, and a bit of blue such as the "La Palma" jersey.[129] Inter Miami's current sponsorship is with the Royal Caribbean Group.[130]

The species of the birds in the crest was the subject of debate after its announcement and unveiling, with some speculating them to be flamingos and egrets.[131] The team later announced that the birds are white herons.[132]

The club's name has been the subject of a trademark dispute with Italian club Inter Milan, which had filed a claim with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the protected use of "Inter" in 2014. MLS filed an objection to the trademark claim in April 2019, arguing that the name "Inter" was generic due to its use by other clubs and could not be claimed exclusively.[133] The two sides signed a discrete settlement in 2021, allowing David Beckham’s side to continue using their name.[134]

Uniform evolution edit

Home edit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020–2021
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2022–2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2024–

Away edit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2021–2022
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2023–

Sponsorship edit

Season Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2020 Adidas Baptist Health[135]
2021 XBTO[136]
2022 Xmanna[137]
2023 Fracht Group[138]
2024–present Royal Caribbean[139]

In March 2024 Tudor was announced as the official timekeeper.[140]

Stadium edit

Miami Freedom Park edit

 
The site of the former Melreese Country Club is the future location of Miami Freedom Park.

In March 2020, Inter Miami began to play in Fort Lauderdale. They will continue to do so until their new stadium, temporarily known as Miami Freedom Park, is completed.[141][142] The project will include a 25,000-seat stadium that would form part of Freedom Park, a mixed-use complex on the former site of the city-owned Melreese Country Club near the Miami International Airport. Approval for construction of the stadium depended on the outcome of a public referendum held on November 6, 2018, and approval of city officials.[143] The result of the referendum had roughly 60 percent of voters approving the measure to convert the city-owned golf course near the international airport into Inter Miami CF's new stadium.[144] The whole project in total is worth over $1 billion.[145] On August 20, 2019, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez confirmed a recent report that soil contamination at Melreese golf course, the proposed site for the stadium, was far worse than previously thought. According to CBS Miami, "...arsenic contamination levels are more than twice what is allowed by law. Barium and lead levels are also too high and there is debris in the soil that could cause physical hazards."[146]

This has been approved by the results of a referendum in which 60% of the voters authorized the stadium. Also Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mavel Ruiz's decision, preserved the results of a November referendum in which 60% of Miami voters authorized city administrators to negotiate a 99-year lease with the MLS team's ownership to develop Miami Freedom Park. The $1 billion stadium, hotel, office park, and commercial campus is to be built on 73 acres (30 ha) of city-owned land, currently Melreese golf course. The team would also build an adjacent public park. The MLS team, Club Internacional de Fútbol (Inter Miami), would play at least 17 home games annually in the 25,000-seat stadium. The development, being built on 131-acre (53 ha) public land, will include 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of office, retail and commercial space, 750 hotel rooms, 23 acres (9.3 ha) of public soccer fields in addition to the 10.5-acre (4.2 ha) stadium, and the remaining 58 acres (23 ha) will be a public park. The club owners will also make annual installments of $20 million for 30 years for improvements to public parks across the city.[147]

The site follows a lengthy exploration of other locations since Beckham’s purchase of the franchise.[148] Noted locations that had previously been considered included: Dodge Island at PortMiami (2013), the Downtown Miami waterfront at Museum Park (2014),[149][150] a site adjacent to MLB's Marlins Park (2015), and a privately owned site in Miami's Overtown (2015–16).[151][152][153][154]

Beckham announced in June 2019 that Freedom Park has a proposed launch date 2022.[155] On April 28, 2022, the Miami City Council voted 4–1 to grant Inter Miami a 99-year lease for the Melreese site, with the stadium projected to open in the 2025 MLS season.[156] On March 19, 2023, Melreese Golf Course was shut down to make way for the construction of Miami Freedom Park.[157] Construction of Miami Freedom Park began in August 2023, with intentions to open in 2025. A groundbreaking ceremony will be set later in the year.[158][159] In August 2023 it was announced that the final legal hurdle had been cleared and construction had finally commenced on the stadium, with an anticipated completion date of 2025, which is the final year of Messi’s contract with the club.[160]

Chase Stadium edit

 
Chase Stadium entrance
 
New seats were added for the stadium.

Chase Stadium, formerly known as DRV PNK Stadium, is a soccer stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium.[161] The stadium is oriented north–south for soccer configuration, so the sun won't be in the eyes of the goal keeper.[162] The stadium is the primary headquarters for the team and its youth academy in addition to further training grounds.[162] The cost of the whole renovation and creation of the Soccer-specific stadium by Manica Architecture is $60 million or $140 million in total.[163] Following Lionel Messi's June 2023 announcement of his planned move to Inter Miami CF, the club's managing owner Jorge Mas stated that the corners of the stadium would be filled to add 3,000 to 3,200 seats to handle some of the expected demand.[164] The new sections use bleacher seating from the Miami International Autodrome, the temporary Formula One circuit built at Hard Rock Stadium for the Miami Grand Prix.[165][166] On February 20, 2024, the day before Inter Miami CF's opening match of the 2024 regular season, the team announced a multi-year naming rights partnership with JPMorgan Chase. The stadium was rebranded as Chase Stadium effective immediately.[167] Pyro rooftop fireworks are also installed in the chase stadium.[168]

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced in 2016 that they were moving out of Lockhart Stadium,[169] after which the stadium fell into a state of disrepair.[170] In late January 2019, Inter Miami announced its intentions to pursue the Lockhart Stadium site to serve as the club's training ground for its first team, USL League One reserve team Inter Miami CF II, and youth academy. The development would also include a 21,550-seat stadium, which will serve as the permanent home of Inter Miami CF II and as the interim home for Inter Miami for at least the first two seasons while the Miami Freedom Park stadium is under construction.[171] The Fort Lauderdale city council unanimously approved Inter Miami's bid for the Lockhart Stadium site in March 2019. In April, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission cleared Inter Miami to begin the demolition process.[170][172] On July 9, 2019, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously approved a 50-year lease agreement for the Lockhart Stadium site with Inter Miami; under the terms of the agreement, the city will retain ownership of the property while the soccer club will be responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the new facilities.[173] On April 8, 2021, it was reported that Inter Miami CF had reached a naming rights agreement with AutoNation; the agreement was officially announced the next day. The stadium was branded as DRV PNK Stadium, a tie-in with AutoNation's breast cancer awareness campaign.[174][175] A second expansion was completed in January 2024 that increased capacity to 21,550 seats. A new section in the southwest corner, along with more seats in the northeast and southeast corners, added 1,200 seats; the expansion also included six "opera boxes" and nine "theatre boxes" with suite-like seats.[176][177]

Training complex edit

In late January 2019, the club announced its intentions to pursue the Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale to serve as the club's training ground for its first team, youth academy, and future United Soccer League (USL) team.[178]

The new training complex consist of over 30 acres (12 ha) of grass and green space, that will include various amenities such as a park, youth soccer fields, and a community center. Upon completion, the complex is used as the permanent training facilities for all levels of Inter Miami's teams ranging from their Youth Academy teams and USL League One team to the first team that plays in MLS.[179]

Transportation edit

The Freedom Park site is located near Miami International Airport and the adjoining Miami Intermodal Center, a rail and bus transfer station. It is served by Metrorail trains to Downtown Miami and Tri-Rail commuter rail to the northern suburbs and counties. The Intermodal Center is located on the north side of the canal that separates the stadium site from the airport.[180]

Chase Stadium is located near Interstate 95 at its junction with Commercial Boulevard (State Route 870) in Fort Lauderdale. The stadium has three designated parking lots for pre-purchased ticketholders and an additional lot for other visitors.[181] The nearest Tri-Rail commuter rail station is Cypress Creek, but additional nighttime train service is not provided for Inter Miami CF matches.[182]

In April 2022, Inter Miami CF announced a partnership with Brightline to provide passenger trains from Miami and West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale station with a dedicated shuttle for fans. The service, named the GOOOL Getter, will have three round-trips before and after home matches.[183]

Ownership edit

The ownership group behind the franchise was first formed in 2013 as Miami Beckham United, though it now trades under the name Miami Freedom Park LLC.[33] The original ownership group was led by Miami-based Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure,[184] while Masayoshi Son and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas were added to the ownership group in 2017.[185] The effort originated in a contract David Beckham signed with MLS in 2007; he joined LA Galaxy and negotiated an option to own an expansion team at a discounted franchise fee.[33][186]

On September 17, 2021, it was announced that Beckham and the Mas brothers had bought out Claure and Son's stakes in the ownership group.[187] Ares Management was also added to the ownership group.[188]

Supporters edit

 
Supporter section at Chase Stadium with The Siege (Siege Miami) in the right and Vice City 1896 and Southern Legion (La Legion) in the middle

The club has four official supporters groups: The Siege, Southern Legion, Vice City 1896, and Nación Rosa Y Negro.[189]

Rivalries edit

The club has a rivalry with Orlando City SC, currently the team's closest neighbors and only other Florida-based team in MLS.[190] Orlando City joined MLS in 2015 but had to wait until its sixth season to play a first intrastate match against an MLS opponent following the introduction of Inter Miami as an expansion franchise in 2020. It has been named the "Florida Derby" by the official MLS page.[191]

The club also has an intracity rivalry in USL Championship club Miami FC. It is known as the "Miami Clásico".[192]

Honors edit

International edit

Players and staff edit

Squad edit

As of April 3, 2024[193]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   USA Drake Callender
5 MF   ESP Sergio Busquets (DP)
6 DF   ARG Tomás Avilés
8 FW   ECU Leonardo Campana (DP)
9 FW   URU Luis Suárez
10 FW   ARG Lionel Messi (captain; DP)
11 MF   ARG Facundo Farías
13 GK   USA CJ dos Santos
15 DF   USA Ryan Sailor
16 MF   FIN Robert Taylor
17 DF   USA Ian Fray (HG)
18 DF   ESP Jordi Alba
19 FW   USA Robbie Robinson
20 MF   PAR Diego Gómez
21 DF   ARG Nicolás Freire (on loan from UNAM)
24 DF   USA Julian Gressel
No. Pos. Nation Player
26 DF   USA Tyler Hall (HG)
27 DF   UKR Serhiy Kryvtsov
30 MF   USA Benjamin Cremaschi (HG)
32 DF   USA Noah Allen (HG)
33 DF   ARG Franco Negri
35 FW   USA Felipe Valencia (HG)
41 MF   HON David Ruiz (HG)
42 MF   ITA Yannick Bright
43 MF   USA Lawson Sunderland
49 FW   HAI Shanyder Borgelin (HG)
55 MF   ARG Federico Redondo
57 DF   ARG Marcelo Weigandt (on loan from Boca Juniors)
62 DF   DOM Israel Boatwright (HG)
73 FW   BRA Leo Afonso
81 MF   USA Santiago Morales (HG)
99 GK   USA Cole Jensen

Out on loan edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
25 FW   COL Emerson Rodríguez (on loan to Millonarios)
28 MF   DOM Edison Azcona (on loan to Las Vegas Lights)

Technical staff edit

As of February 25, 2024[194][195][196]

Name Position Nationality
Gerardo Martino Head Coach   Argentina
Jorge Theiler Assistant Coach   Argentina
Javier Morales Assistant Coach   Argentina
Gerardo Andres Martino Jr. Assistant Coach   Argentina
Sebastián Saja Goalkeeper Coach   Argentina
Rodolfo Paladini Head Fitness Coach   Argentina
Manuel Alfarὀ Assistant Fitness Coach   Argentina
Damian Silvero Video Analyst   Argentina
Garrison Draper Performance Director   United States
Chris Henderson Sporting Director   United States
Yassine Chueko Bodyguard/Security Guard   United States
Mark Prizant Director of Scouting Recruitment   United States
Stevens Sanchez Athletic Coach   United States
Tom Jobe Fitness Coach   United States
Connor Ceballos Match Analyst   United States
Niki Budalić Director of Soccer Operations   Canada
Sam Gregory Chief Analyst   Canada
Silas Waszczuk Physiotherapist   Brazil
Benjamin Hensel Scouting Agent   Germany
Alan Clark Scouting Agent   Scotland
Raul Meza Scouting Agent   Peru
Carlos Beguer Scouting Agent   Spain
Ángel Gómez Scouting Agent   Spain
Xavier Asensi Chief Business Officer   Spain
Kieran Gibbs Media Director   England

Head coaches edit

As of April 12, 2024

Name Nationality Tenure G W D L Win %
Diego Alonso   Uruguay December 30, 2019 – January 7, 2021 24 7 3 14 029.17
Phil Neville   England January 18, 2021 – June 1, 2023 90 35 13 42 038.89
Javier Morales (interim)   Argentina June 1, 2023 – July 10, 2023 7 1 3 3 014.29
Gerardo Martino   Argentina July 10, 2023 – present 34 16 8 10 047.06

Club DP history edit

As of February 8, 2024[197]
Player Previous club Years as DP
  Matías Pellegrini   Estudiantes 2020
  Rodolfo Pizarro   Monterrey 2020–2023
  Gonzalo Higuaín   Juventus 2020–2022
  Blaise Matuidi   Juventus 2021
  Gregore   Bahia 2021–2023
  Alejandro Pozuelo   Toronto FC 2022
  Leonardo Campana   Wolverhampton Wanderers 2023–
  Lionel Messi   Paris Saint-Germain 2023–
  Sergio Busquets   Barcelona 2023–

Records edit

Seasons edit

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental / Other Average
attendance
Top goalscorer(s)
League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name(s) Goals
2020 MLS 23 7 13 3 25 35 –10 24 1.04 10th 19th PR NH MLS is Back Tournament GS 2,216   Lewis Morgan 5
2021 MLS 34 12 17 5 36 53 –17 41 1.21 11th 20th NH 14,713   Gonzalo Higuaín 12
2022 MLS 34 14 14 6 47 56 –9 48 1.41 6th 12th R1 Ro16 12,613   Gonzalo Higuaín 16
2023 MLS 34 9 18 7 41 54 –13 34 1.00 14th 27th RU Leagues Cup W 17,698   Josef Martínez 12
2024 MLS 10 5 2 3 22 15 7 18 1.80 1st 1st - - CONCACAF Champions Cup QF 21,245   Lionel Messi 9
Total 135 47 64 24 171 213 –42 165 1.22   Gonzalo Higuaín 29

^ 1. Avg. attendance include statistics from league matches only. The 2024 season avg. attendance is used from another source.

^ 2. Top goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, MLS Cup Playoffs, Supporters' Shield, Campeones Cup, U.S. Open Cup, MLS is Back Tournament, MLS rivalry cups, Leagues Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, Copa Libertadores, FIFA Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.

[198]

Infrastructure edit

Reserve team edit

On October 9, 2019, the club announced that they were fielding a reserve team in the third tier of US Soccer, USL League One. This team allows the club to prepare future players with quality competition in hopes of being called up to the first team. The unnamed League One Miami team will train at the training facilities of Chase Stadium.[199]

The team was to open their inaugural season on March 27, 2020, against Union Omaha at Inter Miami CF Stadium but the match was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[200]

On February 24, 2022, Fort Lauderdale CF announced that the team had rebranded as Inter Miami CF II ahead of their move to the MLS Next Pro, the new reserve league for MLS teams.[201]

Academy edit

The Inter Miami CF Academy is the official youth academy and development system of Inter Miami CF that was established in 2019.[202] The academy consists of various levels of age groups, ranging from U-12 to U-17. These teams will also train at the training grounds in Inter Miami CF Stadium alongside their MLS and USL League One counterparts. All of Inter Miami's youth teams compete in the MLS Next soccer league as of the inaugural 2022 season. The system covers the under-12, under-13, under-14, under-15, and under-17 age groups.[203]

Popular culture edit

Messi makes a cameo in a music video by Maluma's song "Trofeo" alongside Yandel which the setting of the video was located in Chase stadium for a bit on August 25, 2023.[204] The song "Buya" by Domino Saints also took place at the Chase stadium on October 1, 2020.[205] Inter Miami is also featured in the EA Sports FIFA being FIFA 20, FIFA 21, FIFA 22, FIFA 23, and EA Sports FC newest being EA FC 24.[206] There official goal theme songs everytime they score or make a goal at the Chase stadium is "Vivir Mi Vida" by Marc Anthony and Don Omar's Danza Kuduro.[207] A list of celebrities by the names of Alex Morgan, Emilio Estefan, Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Marc Anthony, Prince Royce, Jay-Z, DJ Khaled, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, and Neymar Jr. congratulated David Beckham for creating and launching Inter Miami within the newest MLS expansion on January 2018.[208][209][210] Qatar Airways had talks with David Beckham on a £180 million or $234.3 million sponsorship deal back in February 17, 2020.[211][212][213][214][215] On May 2022, The Gumball 3000 rally then travelled via Indianapolis (the Gumball participants watched the Indy 500 race with VIP hospitality), Nashville and Atlanta before crossing the finish line at the Inter Miami's Chase Stadium, where the inaugural Gumball Goodwill Cup Charity Football Match took place, featuring the Gumball All-Stars XI facing a Laureus Sport for Good World XI.[216]

Media edit

The team's first three matches in the 2020 season were assigned to national broadcasts; a broadcast deal was not announced before the suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the team did announce that Ray Hudson would serve as color commentator,[217] Andres Cordero served as the play-by-play commentator, joined by Fernando Fiore as the host, and Kaylyn Kyle as the sideline reporter.[218] On April 3, 2020, the club announced a regional English-language television deal with CBS Television Stations, under which its regional matches will air on MyNetworkTV affiliate WBFS-TV, with selected matches airing on CBS station WFOR-TV.[219] Then on April 30, the club announced a Spanish rights deal with Univision, where games would be aired on its TV affiliate WAMI and radio affiliate WQBA, with a broadcast team consisting of Ramses Sandoval, Luis Omar Tapia [es], Daniel Nohra [es], Diego Balado [es], Nicholas Cantor and Tony Cherchi.[220] On February 23, 2023, Inter Miami named Kieran Gibbs as the media director for the team and it's network.[221] Heineken is also the official beer of Inter Miami along with partnership or sponsorship made on August 6, 2019.[222] Inter Miami has many partnerships and sponsorships with certain well known companies of United states or internationally.[223] Inter Miami CF announced a multi-year partnership, with the #1 trusted battery brand, Duracell, as its Official Power partner on February 15, 2024.[224] Inter Miami formally announced the renewal of its partnership with prominent, global cryptofinance firm XBTO on Tuesday March 12, 2024. The multi-year extension sees XBTO remain as Inter Miami CF’s Official Cryptofinance Partner.[225]

All of Major League Soccer's regional television contracts expired after the 2023 season, with all television coverage moving to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.[226]

See also edit

Notes edit

References edit

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