Last month, The Miami FC coach Paul Dalglish gave some clues as to how the club would be built in 2019. This week, fans and observers got a clearer view as to what kind of team might take the field this season.
Miami FC inked a number of players this week, including some familiar faces, some returning fan favorites and some international names.
With Ariel Martínez signed up last week, a trickle of news became a flood. First, Dylan Mares, who joined the club in its second season from Indy Eleven in 2017 and returned to Indianapolis on loan in August 2018, confirmed his return to Miami for 2019. Mares has been a key figure in the Miami midfield virtually from day one.
On Thursday, Miami FC confirmed what many knew, announcing the return of Darío Suárez and addition of Brian James from Toronto FC II. Suárez, added mid-season after a lackluster start to the 2018 National Premier Soccer League campaign, fit in immediately. Appearing in 14 of the team’s 20 games and starting 11, he totaled 10 goals and two assists. James and Suárez appeared at the club’s youth academy announcement last month.
Later that evening, Magic City Soccer was able to confirm two other additions.
Robert Baggio Kcira was a fan favorite, rising from an open tryout to a starting role. Kcira started 10 games in the 2017 NASL season until a torn ACL and meniscus sidelined him for more than a year.
Tomas Granitto is the first-ever player to cross town, leaving Miami United and joining The Miami FC. With United, he helped score key goals in U.S. Open Cup matchups against FC Kendall and Jacksonville Armada FC.
On Friday, the club confirmed the Granitto news and also added two fresh faces: Lloyd Sam and Marco Franco. Sam is a familiar face to fans of English football and Major League Soccer. The Ghanaian international spent a decade in the Premier League, Championship and League One. He made appearances with Charlton Athletic, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday, Southend United, Leeds United and Notts County. In 2012, the winger came to America, playing with New York Red Bulls and D.C. United before a short return to England with AFC Wimbledon.
Franco has spent more time domestically, playing as a defender for American clubs up and down the pyramid.
There are still a number of spots available to fill, and preseason is creeping ever closer. However, for the first time in nearly half a year, Miami supporters have a clue as to the type of team Miami may be fielding as it attempts to defend its NPSL title and claim the Founders Cup.