In a way, most of the people who were told about the North American Soccer League’s decision to cancel the 2018 season were ready for that outcome. It almost seemed as if it was destined to happen after all of the events leading up to this point. Hell, the most pessimistic supporter of an NASL club could have told you the writing was on the wall after the tumultuous offseason of 2016-17. Be that as it may, Miami currently has zero professional clubs ready to play in a professional league for the 2018 season.
It is almost incredible to think that despite all signs pointing toward an inevitable end of the second division sanctioning for NASL, there was no contingency plans put in place. However, lets go back to the beginning of all this turbulence and recap how we’ve gotten to this point briefly. In September of 2017, the USSF informed NASL that the second division status would be stripped unless the league could meet all the requirements for obtaining a second division standard. In November, NASL had their first day in court against the USSF, where they were denied a preliminary injunction. In December, NASL went to the appellate court in order to seek a permanent injunction that would supersede the initial ruling. Just days ago, the NASL was told that the appeal was denied and shortly after that the 2018 season was cancelled.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s go back to the first sentence regarding contingency plans. How is it possible that a professional sports league and multiple organizations did not create plan b or plan c or plan d, all the way to plan z? Perhaps, the powers at be felt strongly about their case or maybe there was a sense of pride that goes with false rationalization. It still begs the question, how could there be no fall back plan for multiple professional organizations? It doesn’t make sense, there is no rational argument that can be made for putting all the eggs in one basket.
We reported previously that Miami was close to joining the USL per Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter). This was back in January and sources close to the team have mentioned that the two sides were very close to agreeing to a deal. Perhaps this was plan B, but at what terms would Miami have to accept in order to be given the opportunity to play? That still remains unclear as information from the fallout has yet to be reported. Miami may have forgone their best chance to remain active (professionally) and avoid the implosion of their roster that has seen another three players depart over the past three days.
It’s almost ironic that while Miami’s current pro soccer team is dormant for the 2018 season, the future pro soccer team is still hung up on a stadium site that is marred in litigation and controversy. Perhaps the best solution for professional soccer in Miami would be for both parties to come to the table and try to broker an agreement. It’s almost too perfect of a story line for the soccer community to embrace and wrap their arms around, where the present meets the future.
There’s a base already established with Miami F.C. The groundwork has been laid out, the marketing arm is already in place, the staff is exceptional, and there is a stadium deal already set for the team’s infancy. Why drag out the prospect of playing in MLS any longer? Why 2020? MLS could be a reality in Miami for 2019 and all it takes is a series of meetings and paperwork. Miami could return to the forefront of professional soccer with two massive icons leading the way in Silva and Beckham, all it takes is some open-mindedness and a plan. One that seeks retribution and one that seeks validation, being the villain and the hero all the same time.
For now, we still have a plethora of lower division soccer that will be coming through your feeds from us beginning in April. Miami FC 2 will take the field from April through June, and shortly after that FC Miami City will begin their PDL campaign. Sprinkle in some open cup matches with four of Miami’s clubs, and you still have a memorable summer of soccer.