The Miami FC CEO Sean Flynn and manager Paul Dalglish met members of the press and the general public on Thursday night promoting the club’s new partnership with Soccer Academy of the Americas. However, the club’s leadership also spoke about plans on the field in 2019.
The biggest news from the press gaggle after the ceremony came from Flynn discussing the team’s goals in returning to Riccardo Silva Stadium, the venue that bears the name of the owner. After playing at the stadium in 2016 and 2017, the move from the North American Soccer League to the National Premier Soccer League forced downsizing. Flynn believes the club will make a triumphant return sooner rather than later.
“We’re looking at different opportunities during the season,” Flynn said. “Whether that’s during the NPSL Founders Cup, or postseason in NPSL, or if we advance far enough in the Open Cup. We’re going to look for opportunities to open that stadium at least once, at a minimum, next year.”
The stadium factors in the club’s long-term plans as well, particularly if the NPSL Pro and its founders find consistent success.
“Hopefully in 2020, we’re back in there full time,” Flynn said. “That’s the goal. NPSL Founders Cup has committed to playing at that level, full-season, April through October or November in 2020 or beyond.”
An [old] new name
Flynn also clarified the club’s branding, indicating that The Miami FC 2, which the team used during its NPSL run last season, will not be used next season.
“We’re branding at Miami FC,” Flynn said. “We’ll keep [The Miami FC 2] in hold. That could be something in the future where we have an Under-23 or reserve team, or maybe the top level of [The Miami FC Youth Development Program] becomes The Miami FC 2 team that plays somewhere that could be in the NPSL ‘classic’ as we talk about it, or at a different level.”
Views from the gaffer
Dalglish spoke about a more immediate issue for the club: player acquisition.
Dalglish confirmed the club has seven players currently under contract. That’s obviously not enough to field a full team. Dalglish confirmed the search to find the right players was already underway.
“It’s all about recruitment. I’ve never seen a good coach win with bad players,” Dalglish said. “We don’t want to commit to players too early. We want to make sure they’re at the level we need, and they’re the right profiles we need to play the type of football that we implemented last season. We want to keep that going.
“Our search is going to be far and wide. Obviously we want some local players playing for us, because there are quality players and I do think we have a responsibility to give young local players or older local players a chance to perform in our team.”
Reflection and projection
Dalglish also gave a peek at his view on the upcoming season, reflecting on some of the shortcomings of 2018.
“When we come back, we’re going to be coming back mid-January to start preseason,” Dalglish said. “Then it’s about molding those players into a team. Trying to get off the mark a little bit quicker this year than we did last year. After so long off, we took a little bit of time to get going, to play the type of football we wanted to play.
“We’re bringing the guys in earlier this year to try and make sure everybody understands the system, everybody understands their roles. We can really attack the early part of the season as aggressively as we did the last part of the season.”
It wouldn’t be a proper Miami FC season without some mystery, intrigue and uncertainty. However, it does, finally, appear as though the club has both high short-term aspirations and a stable long-term footing.