Inter Miami CF

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Inter Miami
Inter Miami CF logo.svg
Full nameClub Internacional de Fútbol Miami
Nickname(s)The Herons
Short nameInter Miami
FoundedJanuary 28, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-01-28)
StadiumDRV PNK Stadium
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Capacity18,000[1][2]
Owners
PresidentDavid Beckham
Head coachPhil Neville
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2021Eastern Conference: 11th
Overall: 20th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, known in English as Inter Miami CF or simply Inter Miami, is an American professional soccer club based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[3] Founded in 2018, the club began play in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the 2020 season at DRV PNK Stadium, the site of the former Lockhart Stadium.

History[edit]

In November 2012, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league's renewed interest in placing an expansion franchise in Miami,[4] 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.[5]

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,[6] ended his playing career in April 2013, the league held preliminary discussions with Beckham's advisers about several expansion targets, including Miami.[7] That same year, other investors, including Italian financier Alessandro Butini[8] and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross expressed interest in owning a Miami franchise as well.[9]

In his December 2013 State of the League address, Garber identified Beckham and Simon Fuller as potential owners in Miami.[10] 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.[11]

The league announced that Beckham exercised his option on February 5, 2014,[12] and that Miami Beckham United,[13] 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.[14] In presentations to officials and potential investors, the ownership group used "Miami Vice" and "Miami Current" as working titles for the club.[15] 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.[16] Beckham bought Fuller out in May 2019.[17]

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 was set to launch in the 2020 season.[18][19] 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.[20]

The team's ownership now operates through Miami Freedom Park LLC.[21] Some graphics used by the group have evoked the Freedom Tower, a city landmark.[22]

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, or Inter Miami CF for short, was announced as the club's name on September 5, 2018.[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 game was played on March 1, 2020, losing 1–0, away to Los Angeles FC.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28] On August 23, 2020, Inter Miami recorded their first franchise victory, 3–2 over Orlando City.[29] 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.[30][31][32]

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.[33] Prior to the announcement, Matuidi was reclassified as a Designated Player by taking the slot occupied by Matías Pellegrini, who was loaned to Fort Lauderdale CF after his contract was bought out by the club.[34]

Colors and badge[edit]

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.[3][35] The team colors are black, pink, and white.[36][37] The full achievement displays the team name encircling all with the Roman numerals MMXX representing the year 2020, the inaugural season of play.[38]

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.[39] The team later announced that the birds are white herons.[40]

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.[41] As of 2021, the case continues.[42]

Stadium[edit]

Miami Freedom Park[edit]

In March 2020, Inter Miami began to play in Fort Lauderdale. They will continue to do so until their new stadium, to be known as Miami Freedom Park, is completed.[22][43] 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.[44] 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, Miami Freedom Park.[45]

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.[46] 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.[47]

The decision follows a lengthy exploration of options.[48] Some locations that had previously been considered included: Dodge Island at PortMiami (2013), the Downtown Miami waterfront at Museum Park (2014),[49][50] a site adjacent to MLB's Marlins Park (2015), and a privately owned site in Miami's Overtown (2015–16).[51][52][53][54] The team also considered the Riccardo Silva Stadium at Florida International University.[55][56]

DRV PNK Stadium[edit]

DRV PNK Stadium

DRV PNK Stadium is a soccer stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium.[57] The stadium is oriented north–south for soccer configuration, so the sun won't be in the eyes of the goalie.[58] The stadium is the primary headquarters for the team and its youth academy in addition to further training grounds.[58]

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced in 2016 that they were moving out of Lockhart Stadium,[59] after which the stadium fell into a state of disrepair.[60] 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 Fort Lauderdale CF, and youth academy. The development would also include an 18,000-seat stadium, which will serve as the permanent home of Fort Lauderdale CF and as the interim home for Inter Miami for at least the first two seasons while the Miami Freedom Park stadium is under construction.[61] 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.[60][62] 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.[63]

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.[64]

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.[65]

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.[21] The original ownership group was led by Miami-based Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure,[66] while Masayoshi Son and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas were added to the ownership group in 2017.[67] 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.[21][68]

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.[69] Ares Management was also added to the ownership group.[70]

Supporters[edit]

The club has three official supporters groups: The Siege, Southern Legion, and Vice City 1896.[71]

Players and staff[edit]

Roster[edit]

As of January 19, 2022[72]
No. Pos. Player Nation
3 DF Kieran Gibbs  England
5 DF Nicolás Figal  Argentina
8 MF Blaise Matuidi (DP; vice-captain)  France
9 FW Gonzalo Higuaín (DP; captain)  Argentina
13 MF Victor Ulloa  Mexico
19 FW Robbie Robinson (GA)  United States
24 DF Ian Fray (HG)  United States
25 FW Felipe Valencia (HG)  United States
26 MF Gregore  Brazil
27 GK Drake Callender (HG)  United States
28 MF Edison Azcona (HG)  Dominican Republic
32 GK Nick Marsman  Netherlands
33 DF Joevin Jones  Trinidad and Tobago
MF George Acosta  United States
MF Mo Adams  England
GK Clément Diop  Senegal
MF Bryce Duke (HG)  United States
FW Ariel Lassiter  Costa Rica
DF Damion Lowe  Jamaica
DF Aimé Mabika  Zambia
DF Christopher McVey  Sweden
MF Jean Mota  Brazil
DF Jairo Quinteros  Bolivia
FW Emerson Rodríguez  Colombia

Out on loan[edit]

No. Pos. Player Nation
6 DF Leandro González Pírez (on loan to River Plate)  Argentina
10 MF Rodolfo Pizarro (on loan to Monterrey)  Mexico
11 MF Matías Pellegrini (on loan to Estudiantes)  Argentina
21 FW Julián Carranza (on loan to Philadelphia Union)  Argentina

Technical staff[edit]

As of January 14, 2022[73]
Role Name Nationality
Head coach Phil Neville  England
Assistant coach Jason Kreis  United States
Assistant coach Mark Mason  England
Assistant coach Brett Uttley  United States
Assistant goalkeeping coach Sebastián Saja  Argentina
Head of first team performance Miguel Motolongo  Venezuela
Sports scientist Nicolas Lewis  United States
Performance analyst Alec Scott  England
Assistant analyst Brett Uttley  United States
Sporting director Chris Henderson  United States
Director of soccer operations Niki Budalić  Canada
Director of scouting Mark Prizant  United States
Scouting agent Alessio Sundas  Italy
Director of analytics Sam Gregory  Canada

Head coaches[edit]

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 – present 34 12 5 17 035.29

Records[edit]

Seasons[edit]

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by Inter Miami. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Inter Miami CF seasons.

Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental / Other Average
attendance
Top goalscorer(s)
Div League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name(s) Goals
2020 1 MLS 23 7 13 3 25 35 –10 24 1.04 10th 19th PR NH MLS is Back Tournament GS 2,216 Scotland Lewis Morgan 5

^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, MLS is Back Tournament, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.

Infrastructure[edit]

Reserve team[edit]

On October 9, 2019, the club announced that they will be 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 Inter Miami CF Stadium.[74]

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.[75]

Academy[edit]

The Inter Miami CF Academy is the official youth academy and development system of Inter Miami CF that was established in 2019.[76] 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 Inter Miami CF Stadium alongside their MLS and USL League One counterparts. All of Inter Miami's youth teams compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

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 will serve as color commentator,[77] Andres Cordero will serve as the play-by-play commentator, joined by Fernando Fiore as the host, and Kaylyn Kyle as the sideline reporter.[78] 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.[79] Then on April 30, the club announced a Spanish rights deal with Univision, where games will 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.[80]

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External links[edit]