Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, known in English as Inter Miami CF or simply Inter Miami, is an American professional soccer club based in the Miami metropolitan area.[1] The team is due to begin play in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2020 at the new Lockhart Stadium at the site of the former Lockhart Stadium. It is proposing to construct a long term ground at Miami Freedom Park, scheduled for 2022 pending final decisions about financing and location.[2]

Inter Miami
Inter Miami CF logo.svg
Full nameClub Internacional de Fútbol Miami
Nickname(s)The Herons
Short nameInter Miami
FoundedJanuary 28, 2018; 23 months ago (2018-01-28)
StadiumLockhart Stadium
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Capacity18,000
Owners
PresidentDavid Beckham
Head coachDiego Alonso
LeagueMajor League Soccer
WebsiteClub website
Current season

HistoryEdit

In November 2012, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league's renewed interest in placing an expansion franchise in Miami,[3] after the Miami Fusion folded following the 2001 season and an expansion bid led by Claure and FC Barcelona failed in 2009.[4]

When David Beckham, who had received an option to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league in 2007,[5] ended his playing career in April 2013, the league held preliminary discussions with Beckham's advisers about several expansion targets, including Miami.[6] That same year, other investors, including Italian financier Alessandro Butini[7] and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross expressed interest in owning a Miami franchise as well.[8]

In his December 2013 State of the League address, Garber identified Beckham and Simon Fuller as potential owners in Miami.[9] 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.[10]

The league announced that Beckham exercised his option on February 5, 2014,[11] and that Miami Beckham United,[12] 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.[13] In presentations to officials and potential investors, the ownership group used "Miami Vice" and "Miami Current" as working titles for the club.[14] 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.[15] Beckham bought Fuller out in May 2019.[16]

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 will launch in the 2020 season.[17][18] 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, New York City FC, Atlanta United, Minnesota United, Los Angeles FC, and FC Cincinnati have all begun MLS play. Paul McDonough was hired as sporting director effective August 4.[19]

The team's ownership now operates through Miami Freedom Park LLC.[20] Some graphics used by the group have evoked the Freedom Tower, a city landmark.[21]

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, or Inter Miami CF for short, was announced as the club's name on September 5, 2018.[22] In April 2019 Italian club Inter Milan claimed trademark rights to the 'Inter' prefix.[23]

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.[24][25]

Inter Miami's first MLS match will be played on March 1, away to Los Angeles FC. Their first home match will be on March 14 against the LA Galaxy, Beckham's former MLS team.

Colors and badgeEdit

The Miami Beckham United group unveiled the team's name and colors on September 5, 2018. 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.[1][26] The team colors are black, pink, and white.[27][28] The full achievement displays the team name encircling all with the roman numerals MMXX representing the year 2020, the planned inaugural season of play.[29]

The identity 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.[30]

StadiumEdit

Miami Freedom ParkEdit

In March 2020, Inter Miami will play in Fort Lauderdale until their new stadium, to be known as Miami Freedom Park, is completed in 2022.[21][31] The current proposal is for a 25,000-seat stadium that would form part of Freedom Park, a mixed-use complex on the present 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.[32] The result of the referendum had roughly 60% of voters approving the measure to convert the city-owned golf course near the international airport into Inter Miami CF's new stadium, Miami Freedom Park.[33]

The proposed development, to be 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 owners will also make annual installments of $20 million for 30 years for improvements to public parks across the city.[34] The agreement still requires the approval of a four-vote supermajority of the five City of Miami commissioners. The plan had faced opposition from supporters of the golf club and many details, such as fiscal responsibility for toxic incinerator ash in the soil, remain to be worked out.[35]

The decision follows a lengthy exploration of options.[36] Some locations that had previously been considered included: Dodge Island at PortMiami (2013), the Downtown Miami waterfront at Museum Park (2014),[37][38] a site adjacent to MLB's Marlins Park (2015), and a privately owned site in Miami's Overtown (2015–16).[39][40][41][42] The team also considered the Riccardo Silva Stadium at Florida International University.[43][44]

Lockhart StadiumEdit

Fort Lauderdale Stadium is a soccer stadium under construction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium.[45] The new 19,000-seat stadium and training facility is scheduled for future Major League Soccer club Inter Miami CF.[46] The new stadium will be oriented north-south for soccer configuration, important in soccer especially during night games.[47] The stadium will be the primary headquarters for the team and its youth academy in addition to further training grounds.

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced in 2016 that they were moving out of Lockhart Stadium,[48] after which the stadium fell into a state of disrepair.[49] In late January 2019, Major League Soccer expansion team Inter Miami CF announced its intentions to pursue the Lockhart Stadium site to serve as the club's training ground for its first team, youth academy, and future United Soccer League (USL) team. The development would also include an 18,000-seat stadium, which will house the USL team as well as the first team for the first two seasons while the Miami Freedom Park stadium is under construction. 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.[49][46] 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 of Fort Lauderdale will retain ownership of the property while Inter Miami will be responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the new facilities.[50]

Training complexEdit

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.[51]

The new training complex will consist of over 30 acres 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 will be 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. [52]

OwnershipEdit

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.[20] The present ownership group is led by Miami-based Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure,[53] while Masayoshi Son and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas were added to the ownership group in 2017.[54] 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.[20]

SupportersEdit

The club has three official supporters groups: The Siege, Southern Legion, and Vice City 1896.[55]

Players and staffEdit

Current rosterEdit

As of January 12, 2020[56]
No. Position Player Nation
Goalkeeper Drake Callender (HG)   United States
Goalkeeper John McCarthy   United States
Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith   United States
Goalkeeper Luis Robles   United States
Defender Mikey Ambrose   United States
Defender A. J. DeLaGarza   Guam
Defender Grant Lillard   United States
Defender Christian Makoun   Venezuela
Defender Dylan Nealis   United States
Defender Alvas Powell   Jamaica
Defender Ben Sweat   United States
Defender Román Torres   Panama
Defender Denso Ulysse   Haiti
Midfielder George Acosta   United States
Midfielder Luis Argudo   United States
Midfielder Jay Chapman   Canada
Midfielder Lee Nguyen   United States
Midfielder David Norman Jr.   Canada
Midfielder Matías Pellegrini (DP)   Argentina
Midfielder Víctor Ulloa   Mexico
Forward Juan Agudelo   United States
Forward Julián Carranza   Argentina
Forward Jerome Kiesewetter   United States
Forward Robbie Robinson (GA)   United States

Technical staffEdit

Role Name Nationality
Head coach Diego Alonso   Uruguay
Assistant coach Claudio Arzeno   Argentina
Assistant coach Anthony Pulis   Wales
Assistant coach Albert Rudé   Spain
Goalkeeping coach Sebastián Saja   Argentina
Fitness coach Mauricio Marchetti   Uruguay
Sports scientist Gustavo Metral   Argentina
Video analyst Brett Uttley   United States
Academy director Jason Kreis   United States

[57]

Head coachesEdit

Name Nationality Tenure G W L T Win %
Diego Alonso   Uruguay December 30, 2019 – present 0 0 0 0 0.0

Youth developmentEdit

USL League One TeamEdit

On October 9, 2019, the club announced that they will be fielding a farm team in the 3rd 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 new Lockhart Stadium.[58]

The team will open their inaugural season on March 27, 2020 against Union Omaha at Lockhart Stadium.[59]

AcademyEdit

The Inter Miami CF Academy is the official youth academy and development system of Inter Miami CF that was established in 2019.[60]. The academy consists of various levels of age groups, ranging from U-12 to U-19. These teams will also train at the training grounds in new Lockhart Stadium alongside their MLS and USL League One counterparts. All of Inter Miami's youth teams compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit