Inter Miami CF
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, known in English as Inter Miami CF, is an American professional soccer club based in the Miami metropolitan area. 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.
|Full name||Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami|
|Short name||Inter Miami|
|Founded||January 28, 2018|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Jorge and Jose Mas
|League||Major League Soccer|
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. The present ownership group is led by Miami-based Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure, while Masayoshi Son and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas were added to the ownership group in 2017. 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.
Colors and badge
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. The team colors are black, pink, and white. The full achievement displays the team name encircling all with the roman numerals MMXX representing the year 2020, the planned inaugural season of play.
In November 2012, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league's renewed interest in placing an expansion franchise in Miami, after the Miami Fusion folded following the 2001 season and an expansion bid led by Claure and FC Barcelona failed in 2009.
When Beckham, who had received an option to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league in 2007, ended his playing career in April 2013, the league held preliminary discussions with Beckham's advisers about several expansion targets, including Miami. That same year, other investors, including Italian financier Alessandro Butini and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross expressed interest in owning a Miami franchise as well.
In his December 2013 State of the League address, Garber identified Beckham and Simon Fuller as potential owners in Miami. 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.
The league announced that Beckham exercised his option on February 5, 2014, and that Miami Beckham United, 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. In presentations to officials and potential investors, the ownership group used "Miami Vice" and "Miami Current" as working titles for the club. 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. Beckham bought Fuller out in May 2019.
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. 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.
The team's ownership now operates through Miami Freedom Park LLC. Some graphics used by the group have evoked the Freedom Tower, a city landmark.
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, or Inter Miami CF for short, was announced as the club's name on September 5, 2018. In April 2019 Italian club Inter Milan claimed trademark rights to the 'Inter' prefix.
Current plans are for the team to begin play by 2020. They will play in Fort Lauderdale until their new stadium, to be known as Miami Freedom Park, is completed in 2022. 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. 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.
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. 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.
The decision follows a lengthy exploration of options. Some locations that had previously been considered included: Dodge Island at PortMiami (2013), the Downtown Miami waterfront at Museum Park (2014), a site adjacent to MLB's Marlins Park (2015), and a privately owned site in Miami's Overtown (2015–16). The team also considered the Riccardo Silva Stadium at Florida International University.
Fort Lauderdale Stadium is a soccer stadium under construction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium. The new 19,000-seat stadium and training facility is scheduled for future Major League Soccer club Inter Miami CF. The new stadium will be oriented north-south for soccer configuration, important in soccer especially during night games. 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, after which the stadium fell into a state of disrepair. 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. 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.
The site of the club's new ground will be a 15 minute walk from Miami International Airport, which provides Miami-Dade Transit Orange Line trains on Metrorail which connect to Downtown, Brickell, Civic Center, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Dadeland, Hialeah, South Miami and Wynwood. Downtown is accessible within 15 minutes of the Miami Airport station.
Miami Airport station will also in future see the operation of proposed Silver Star and the Silver Meteor Amtrak trains daily to Orlando, Jacksonville, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City, and Los Angeles, in the near future.
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. The development would also include a 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 on March 19. On April 2, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission cleared Inter Miami to begin the demolition process. As part of the deal, the team must begin clearing the site within 180 days. Construction of Inter Miami's training facility and new stadium began with the demolition of the old Lockhart Stadium on May 8, 2019.
Players and staff
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