It’s hard to imagine a time where Fútbol Miami MLS might be “done” with the preparation stage. For years, Miami fans eagerly awaiting a Major League Soccer team to support have awaited a finish line. However, developments over the last week may indicate that Thursday’s meeting with the City of Miami’s commissioners may signal the beginning of the end (or, at least, the end of the beginning).
The ownership group behind the plan to bring MLS to the Magic City has pivoted multiple times on a possible stadium site, but with the inclusion of Jorge and Jose Mas, the team now appears to have its sights set on Melreese Country Club. According to the Miami Herald, the plan the group proposes involves turning 78 acres of an available 131 into a soccer stadium, surrounded by retail space, restaurants, music and entertainment venues and one million square feet of tech-related office space. The 58 acres not included in the plan (five acres of land would remain totally untouched) would be developed into a public park, funded in part by $20 million the Beckham group over 20 years.
Jorge Mas gave a firmer idea of what the plan would look like on Twitter Sunday night, as he shared a still of the proposed development before a more detailed look was made available on the Fútbol Miami MLS Twitter page.
— Fútbol Miami MLS (@futbolmiamimls) July 8, 2018
The release of the plan pushed Mas into a promotional barnstorm, as he did phone interviews with Will Manso of Local 10 WPLG and Mike Cugno of CBS 4 WFOR. Mas spoke about the stadium plan, as well as some specifics related to the team itself. Mas spoke about the stadium plan, as well as specific details related to the team.
The hard work now really begins for Fútbol Miami MLS and its supporters. The only way for the Melreese plan to take shape is if a referendum to allow the city to lease the land is approved by voters in the November 6 general election. And the only way to make sure its on the ballot for consideration is if the Miami city commission approves the referendum on Thursday.
Listen to Matt and Omar discuss the “Miami Freedom Park” plan on Magic City Soccer Episode 57!
The plan of attack appears to have three prongs. First, the aforementioned publicity push, featuring Mas speaking to local media and social media posts hammering the idea of what the club would mean to the city, and how the proposed development would not burden local government. Second, Fútbol Miami MLS is seeking fan support through a petition sponsored by Southern Legion, the supporters group for MLS in Miami. Finally, and most controversially, Fútbol Miami MLS has sought to lobby local government officials more directly.
According to Joey Flechas at the Miami Herald, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a “VIP” gathering at the Setai on Wednesday night, where the full plans will be shared with relevant parties, including City of Miami commissioners. Magic City Soccer has been able to independently confirm that government officials from other Miami-Dade cities have been invited to attend.
As mentioned in the introduction, there now appears to be some sort of endgame to Miami receiving a MLS team. However, in true Fútbol Miami MLS fashion, there are no fewer than two significant hurdles that need to be cleared before a shovel can break ground on a stadium.