It is decision day for City of Miami voters and Miami Freedom Park. Will the city be allowed to negotiate with Inter Miami CF to construct a soccer stadium and mixed-use development on the current site of Melreese Country Club? The city put the question to voters in July, but tonight we’ll find out if the Major League Soccer team moves on to the next step or is sent back to square one. Stay with Magic City Soccer all day for coverage and information about this important vote. For live election results, you can visit Miami-Dade County’s elections page.
This afternoon, Inter Miami CF added to its front office personnel. Jurgen Mainka was announced as the Chief Business Officer for the team.
In this episode of Magic City Soccer, Lee, Drew and Matt cut it up about the new MLS team name, Inter Miami CF, as well as the club’s crest and colors. Omar chats with Chris Wittyngham of Pitch Invasion about soccer goings on. Matt and Lee discuss their “Wifalry.” We relish the start of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition. Join us, won’t you?
Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make this Magic City Soccer episode happen!
After months of speculation and years of waiting, Miami finally has an official name to identify its new Major League Soccer franchise: Inter Miami CF.
In 2017, FIU men’s soccer had one of its most successful seasons since its run to the College Cup final in 1996. During his first season at the helm, head coach Kevin Nylen guided the Panthers to a long unbeaten streak at the start of the season, capped off with an NCAA Tournament appearance and victory before being eliminated at the hands of Duke in the second round.
In 2018, some seniors have departed, but a significant part of that team returns with even higher expectations.
Fútbol Miami MLS confirmed through its Twitter account Wednesday morning that Paul McDonough, formerly of Atlanta United, will be joining the team as Sporting Director.
“Paul shares our dream for making Miami the League’s Global Team,” co-owner Jorge Mas said through the team’s Twitter account. “And is uniquely positioned to recruit and develop the talent on and off the field to make this a reality.”
“Paul played a critical role in the building of our club and we are very appreciative of his hard work and dedication in making Atlanta United a success,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement released by the club. “We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”
Reaction to the hire was generally positive.
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) August 2, 2018
— Gabriel Gabor (@MLSGabor) August 2, 2018
Paul McDonough loves him some expansion action. Good luck to the former Orlando City man (but it’s Miami, so not TOO good of luck). https://t.co/DCM9sBl2Cy
— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) August 2, 2018
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.
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).
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.
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.
For some people at the City of Miami’s commission chambers Wednesday, it was nearly an 18-hour day. For supporters and opponents of Fútbol Miami MLS’ ballot initiative, they came and had their say. However, at nearly 11 p.m., the city’s commissioners voted to delay discussion on the proposed stadium and park for nearly a week.