Matthew Bunch

Matthew Bunch has lived in Miami since 2005, covering a variety of collegiate and professional sports. As Editor in Chief of The Miami Hurricanes, the student newspaper of the University of Miami, Matthew and his staff won the paper's first ACP Pacemaker Award since 1992. With the return of professional soccer to Miami-Dade County in 2016, Matthew channeled his professional interest with his personal passion for the Beautiful Game. You can contact Matthew at bunch.mcs@gmail.com.

Miami Soccer Summer Break 2018: Jesse Lingard hits South Beach before Man United teammates arrive in Miami

Miami Soccer Summer Break 2018

As with every break in the soccer calendar, the biggest names in the sport tend to visit Miami-Dade County for some rest and relaxation. Until the start of the European club calendar in August, we’ll provide you updates of who was seen where. It’s Miami Soccer Summer Break 2018!

Jesse Lingard visits Miami before Man United comes to town

He was part of England’s semifinal squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, so he’s free from club responsibilities for a few more weeks. But that didn’t stop Jesse Lingard from heading to South Beach before the rest of the Manchester United squad comes for the International Champions Cup.

Fire breaks out at Melreese Country Club

City of Miami Fire Rescue personnel responded to a fire at the Melreese Country Club in Miami Tuesday night. As of 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, they were still on the scene. Photo by Matthew Bunch.

A fire broke out Tuesday night at Melreese Country Club, the proposed site of Fútbol Miami MLS’ stadium development, Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village.

As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, City of Miami police were unable to confirm the cause of the fire. City of Miami fire rescue officials were still on the scene.

According to the Miami Herald, approximately 40 golf carts were on fire Tuesday evening.

A large fireball was visible from NW. 37th Ave. Flames reached 30 to 40 feet in the sky.

The most significant damage was to the golf course’s carts and the structure used to house the carts. No damage was reported to the main clubhouse building.

It is unknown how this may impact the golf course’s operation on Wednesday. It is unlikely that this will have any long-term impact on the golf course or on the proposed soccer-related development.

FC Kendall completes perfect APSL regular season, heads into playoffs as title favorites

FC Kendall will attempt to win the APSL's spring/summer season title. Photographic by Matthew Bunch.

Often after a U.S. Open Cup appearance, participating teams suffer from post-Cup swoon. For FC Kendall, who suffered defeat in Round 1 at the hands of Miami United FC, their 2018 spring/summer league performance has been ascendant.

The club has completed an undefeated American Premier Soccer League campaign, capping it off with a 2-0 win over UD Miami FC on Sunday night at Kendall Soccer Park

With the win, the team is now top the league table, five points clear of the nearest competition in South Florida FC. Both South Florida and FC Kendall will now heads into the APSL playoffs with a well-deserved bye. This weekend, Boca Raton FC’s APSL squad will face Heights FC of Deerfield Beach, while UD Miami will play Miami-Dade stalwart Red Force FC this weekend. FC Kendall will play the winner of the second game.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>After 13 exciting weeks, we have our <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Top6?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Top6</a> that will move on to the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/2018APSLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#2018APSLPlayoffs</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/_FCKendall?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@_FCKendall</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/southfloridafc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@southfloridafc</a> earn <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Quarterfinals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Quarterfinals</a> Bye and will await the results of <a href=”https://twitter.com/BocaRatonFC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BocaRatonFC</a> vs <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/HeightsFC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#HeightsFC</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/UDMiamiFCFans?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UDMiamiFCFans</a> vs <a href=”https://twitter.com/RedForceFC09?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RedForceFC09</a> this weekend. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/APSLSoccer?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#APSLSoccer</a> <a href=”https://t.co/So581ae5En”>pic.twitter.com/So581ae5En</a></p>&mdash; APSL (@apslofficial) <a href=”https://twitter.com/apslofficial/status/1021899601408876544?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 24, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The APSL season provides both vigorous competition for local players and a path to the U.S. Open Cup, so securing the league title will be of the highest priority for Kendall.

While the name is relatively new, the club is not. Originally Uruguay Kendall FC, the club changed names to FC Kendall last year. The club qualified for the 2018 Open Cup by defeating Nashville United FC last November.

Who is Paul McDonough? Know more about Fútbol Miami MLS’ potential general manager

Paul McDonough is considered a leading candidate to become Futbol Miami MLS's new general manager. Photo courtesy Atlanta United.

According to Paul Tenorio of The Athletic, Fútbol Miami MLS appears to have a favored candidate for its general manager position, and it’s a name that will be familiar to those interested in Major League Soccer expansion clubs: Paul McDonough, Vice President of Soccer Operations for Atlanta United.

Earlier this month, co-owner Jorge Mas told local media that he anticipated a hire for the general manager position by the end of August. That would mean the franchise is already in the late stages of the search process. Tenorio’s report indicates Fútbol Miami MLS wants an expansion specialist. If that’s the case, McDonough may be the perfect hire.

Before joining Atlanta in January 2016, McDonough was hired by Orlando City of then-USL. McDonough and Adrian Heath (manager) were brought in to shepard the team into the highest ranks of American professional soccer. While the results on the field have not been perfect, the growth of the Orlando project (specifically the growth of fan support within the city and ticket sales) became a model for teams around the country.

One year later, McDonough jumped ship to soon-to-be rivals Atlanta United, in a hire announced in December 2015.

Youth movement

McDonough has received specific credit for the development of Atlanta United’s youth academy, which is now widely considered one of, if not the best, youth soccer academy in the United States. Fútbol Miami MLS has previously insisted that the club will be based around a strong youth program. The team wants to tap into the talent available in South Florida.

Prior to joining the front office of clubs, Paul McDonough spent two years with Wasserman (previously known as the Wasserman Media Group, or WMG) as Director of Global Soccer. In that role, he represented professional soccer players in MLS and abroad. Prior to that, he spent three years at Santio Sport + Entertainment as director of recruiting. His soccer career began on the field, where he worked as an assistant coach at Wake Forest University (1999-2001), the University of South Carolina (2001-2002) and the University of Connecticut (2003-2009).

City of Miami commission approves Miami Freedom Park ballot initiative

City of Miami commission chairman Keon Hardeman bangs his gavel as the commission grants approval to a ballot initiative on the November general election ballot related to Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village. The commission meets in chambers at Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove on July 18, 2018. Photo by Matthew Bunch.

The City of Miami commission has voted to allow a ballot initiative in support of Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village to appear on the city’s general election ballot on Nov. 6. The vote was 3-2. Commissioners Keon Hardemon, Joe Carollo and (critically) Ken Russell voted in support. Commissioners Manolo Reyes and Willy Gort voted against.

The day appeared to start where last Thursday’s meeting left off, with commissioners airing their grievances with the deal. The two most prominent voices in the morning were those of Reyes and Carollo.

Term Sheet for Miami Freedom Park made public before City of Miami commission meeting

A rendering of the development that would be Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village. Rendering provided by Miami Freedom Park, LLC.

Just hours before the start of the City of Miami commission meeting that could potentially decide the deal’s fate, the Term Sheet that establishes the proposal between the ownership group and the city regarding Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village was made public.

First shared by local columnist Grant Stern, the three-page term sheet covers a number of issues, some dealing in terms already established and some touching on concerns that commissioners shared last week.

The best of the Miami Herald’s interview with Fútbol Miami MLS co-owner Jorge Mas and Miami mayor Francis Suarez

Fútbol Miami MLS co-owner Jorge Mas, left, and Miami mayor Francis Suarez appear in front of the Miami Herald's editorial board on Monday. Screengrab via the Miami Herald's live stream.

On Monday, in advance of Fútbol Miami MLS appearing in front of the City of Miami’s commission for the second time in a week on Wednesday, co-owner Jorge Mas and Mayor Francis Suarez were grilled by the Miami Herald’s editorial board for an hour, facing a series of questions about the proposed development at Melreese Country Club.

Magic City Soccer Episode 59: NPSL Sunshine Conference champions and a hold on Fútbol Miami MLS

Magic City Soccer podcast

Matt and Omar tackle Miami soccer on and off the field in this episode of Magic City Soccer, as the vote for Fútbol Miami MLS’ Melreese plan is delayed a week, and The Miami FC 2 defeats Jacksonville Armada FC to claim the NPSL’s Sunshine Conference crown. We also give a brief wrap-up of a wonderful World Cup. Join us, won’t you?

Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make this Magic City Soccer episode happen!

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The Miami FC 2 claims NPSL Sunshine Conference title in complete performance against Jacksonville Armada

The Miami FC won the Sunshine Conference title on Saturday night, defeating Jacksonville Armada FC 3-1. Photo by Omar Moubayed.

With the loss of forward Jaime Chávez to a red card and the late scratch of Don Smart, it appeared Saturday night’s challenge against Jacksonville Armada FC for the NPSL Sunshine Conference championship would be an uphill battle. But virtually from the moment of kickoff, The Miami FC 2 were in the driver’s seat and their play took them all the way to the title, thoroughly defeating the Armada 3-1.