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.

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.

Former coach of The Miami FC Alessandro Nesta to lead A.C. Perugia Calcio into Serie A promotion playoff

Alessandro Nesta at A.C. Perugia Calcio

Even though Serie B side A.C. Perugia Calcio warned a spot in the Serie A promotion playoff, that apparently wasn’t enough for the board. Manager Roberto Breda was dismissed. Breda’s loss, however, appears to be the gain of former manager of The Miami FC and Italian legend Alessandro Nesta.

Nesta was announced as Breda’s replacement on Monday, tasked with leading the squad through the playoff. His current contract only lasts through June 30, 2018.

Nesta left Miami FC in November 2017, after guiding the squad to Spring and Fall NASL titles that year, but losing to the New York Cosmos in the Soccer Bowl semifinal. He was replaced by Scotland’s Paul Dalglish.

The SPORTELSummit will offer robust discussion about U.S. soccer, with local representation and some notable absences

SPORTELSummit

Soccer fans in South Florida have an interesting event to look forward to next week. The SPORTELSummit Miami Beach will bring a number of important figures in the sports world together to discuss the issues of the day. However, there are some notable absences that leave participants and followers asking: What happened?

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho joins Miami-based “Ronaldinho’s Pro Footvolley Tour”

Ronaldinho's Pro Footvolley Tour

In a coup for the fledgling league, the Pro Footvolley Tour announced last week that star of club and country soccer Ronaldinho will be joining the tour. It will be renamed “Ronaldinho’s Pro Footvolley Tour.”

According to a story by Luis F. Sanchez of el Nuevo Herald, the agreement was signed in Brazil on Thursday between Amaury Nunes, who runs a team with Menezes, and Ronaldo De Assis Moreira, brother and agent of Ronaldinho.

Footvolley, a combination of soccer and beach volleyball, was developed formally in the mid-1960s in Brazil. The sport was included as an exhibition sport in the 2016 Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro. Menezes, who founded the Pro Footvolley Tour in 2008, was the captain of Team USA.

“The audience that Ronaldinho has on social networks will make it possible to take footvolley to another level,” Menezes told el Nuevo Herald.

FC Miami City and the U.S. men’s U-20 team to play Sunday

FC Miami City and the U.S. men's U-20

After its loss to The Miami FC 2 in the play-in round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Sunday, FC Miami City and the U.S. men’s U-20 team will play at Central Broward Regional Park’s Cricket Stadium on Sunday at 4 p.m.

It’s not the first time a local squad has scrimmaged against one of America’s youth squads. Last year, The Miami FC faced off against the U.S. U-19 team as part of its preseason.

The U.S. U-20s are using the game as a tune-up before they depart to Honduras. The team has two games scheduled against Los Catrachos on May 17 and 19. One player on the U-20 squad, Andres Jimenez, is from Miami. Jimenez currently is part of the youth system of Envigado FC, based in Colombia. Before the game, the team is spending six days in Florida to train.

WATCH LIVE: Miami United FC and FC Kendall face off in Round 1 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Miami United FC and FC Kendall

Miami United FC and FC Kendall will face off at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah. Open Cup debutantes Kendall are looking to pull the upset over NPSL power Miami United. The winner will face the winner of the match between The Miami FC 2 and Red Force FC. You can watch the live stream of the match below!

WATCH LIVE: The Miami FC 2 and Red Force FC face off in Round 1 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

The Miami FC 2 and Red Force FC

After advancing from its “play-in” game Sunday night, The Miami FC 2 and Red Force FC face off in the official first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Miami FC 2 is the host, and have chosen to play at the FIU Soccer Stadium instead of its usual home ground this season, Bobcat Field at St. Thomas University. You can watch the live stream of the match below!

Sebastian Abbot brings “The Away Game” book tour to Coral Gables, Miami Beach

Sebastian Abbot The Away Game

Sebastian Abbot combines his passion for soccer and his background as a Associated Press bureau chief based in the middle east together in his latest project: “The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccer’s Next Superstars.” Abbot will be appearing at Books & Books in Coral Gables to promote the book this weekend.

To listen to the full interview with Sebastian Abbot, play the video below!

The Supreme Soccer Search

Abbot’s book provides an inside look at the State of Qatar’s search for talent for its national team in advance of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which Qatar is hosting. The country has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a talent search which has focused on Africa.

“[Qatar] has held tryouts for more than five million boys, mostly in Africa, looking for soccer’s next superstars,” Abbot said in an interview Thursday night. “Every year, they’ve chosen a handful of kids and trained them to become professionals at a billion-dollar sports academy in Qatar … It was over 1,000 times more selective than getting into Harvard.”

It was Abbot’s background in the Middle East and Africa that enabled him to pursue the project.

“I was living and working in Cairo as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and sort of stumbled across the story,” Abbot said. “I wrote an article about it at the time and eight years later wondered if anyone had ever written a book about it. Nobody had, so I kind-of launched on a four-year odyssey.”

The book takes a wide-view perspective of the search and what Qatar is doing in advance of the World Cup, but also spends time with a few of the boys who made the cut and were selected to train with the Qatari program.

“I largely focus on three African boys who were found 10 years ago — Two fro Senegal, one from Ghana — and tell the story through their experience,” Abbot said. “I talk about where they grew up, where they learned how to play soccer, where they were first spotted by Qatar’s scouts and the experience of being transported from their home to Doha, a world that was so radically different than where they came from that it was hard for them to believe.

“For me, it was fascinating to get to know these kids and spend time with them. When you spend time in West Africa … you sort of realize these kids are very indicative of the millions of kids in Africa that grow up dreaming about becoming stars in Europe. They spend their lives, their childhoods, playing on dirt fields idolizing players like Messi and Ronaldo. For some of them to actually achieve that and get to Europe was just an amazing experience.”

El Clasico Chat

Abbot will be appearing at Books & Books in Coral Gables at 1:30 on Sunday, May 6, for a talk about his book, but the experience will offer even more for soccer fans, and fans of Barcelona and Real Madrid in particular. Abbot will be featuring in a traditional book talk and question and answer session, but afterwards Books & Books will be showing El Clásico. Abbot will provide halftime commentary as well.

“I think it’s going to be a really fun event,” Abbot said. “Folks who come will get to learn about this epic worldwide search for the next Messi and then they’ll get to watch the real one in action as he takes on Real Madrid”

A closer look at Miami’s place in the Bid Book for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

Unity 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid

In late March, the joint bid from the Canadian Soccer Association, the Mexican Football Association and the United States Soccer Federation presented its “United” bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. As was discussed then, Miami plays a prominent role. However, diving further into the proposal, you get a better idea about how the city may change for the World Cup.