Inter Miami CF

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.

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.

Is the Miami Freedom Park That Different From Joe Robbie Stadium?

Fútbol Miami MLS will be presenting its vision for "Miami Freedom Park," the home of the future Major League Soccer stadium in Miami alongside other development, to the public on Thursday. Image provided by Jorge Mas via Twitter.

There is a wide misconception that has grown through the years here in South Florida. It has been the gold standard to every stadium project when it’s time to discuss financing and acquisition. Those familiar with sports here in the Magic City know that I am already talking about Joe Robbie Stadium, now known as Hard Rock Stadium. South Florida idolizes Robbie for building it with his own money, however, lost in the story is the land acquisition deal. 

All the non-stadium news from Jorge Mas’ Fútbol Miami MLS recent interviews

Fútbol Miami MLS co-owner Jorge Mas speaks during a celebration event at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on Jan. 29, 2018. Photo via mlssoccer.com.

As is to be expected, there has been a lot of discussion about Miami Freedom Park, where Fútbol Miami MLS intends to build its stadium (with the approval of City of Miami voters in November). However, co-owner Jorge Mas has revealed a lot of other news related to the actual sport of soccer in the course of his interviews this weekend. And it appears a lot of pieces related to the team will be falling into place in weeks, rather than months or years.

Mas spoke to Will Manso of Local 10 WPLG on Sunday, and revealed a number of juicy tidbits:

  • First, the colors, shield and uniform could be released as early as the end of this month.
  • Second, the club has interviewed candidates for general manager and coach, and the GM position is expected to be filled by the end of next month.
  • Third, the team name will be released after colors, and it will not be Miami Freedom, as had been speculated in May. That name will be reserved for the development at Melreese. Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald reported last month that the two favored finalists appear to be Futbol Club Internacional de Miami (Inter Miami) and Futbol Club Atletico Miami (Atletico Miami).
  • Finally, and most critically, Mas reiterated the plan to kick off in March 2020, even though the proposed stadium won’t be ready until 2021. That means  the team will start in a temporary venue. Mas mentioned that there’s interest in “the other two large facilities in Dade County that can house our team,” referring to Hard Rock Stadium and Riccardo Silva Stadium.

Mas indicated the ownership group had an idea of the style it would like to play, and hopes to model Atlanta United as a club to develop players for the future.

Listen to Matt and Omar discuss the “Miami Freedom Park” plan on Magic City Soccer Episode 57!