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Miami FC looking toward the future

With the new USSF Division Two season getting ready to start a month from today, we are finally starting to see how many of the teams are going to look. Some teams, like AC St. Louis and NSC Minnesota Stars, are just starting out. Just getting a team together is becoming a top priority.

On the other side of the spectrum, teams like Miami FC have a few years of experience under their belt. And this past Monday, I was able to travel down to Miami and talk to some of the people in their front office about their upcoming season and what they are looking at doing in the coming years.

I was able to sit down with Aaron Davidson, President of Miami FC, Luiz Muzzi, Miami FC’s General Manger and US Soccer legend and Miami FC’s Director of Soccer Fernando Clavijo.

First thing that was mentioned as I entered to offices of the club was that we stole Jack Traynor under FC’s nose. In all good humor, everyone in the staff said that we were lucky to have a quality player like Traynor on our squad, and that he is an extremely nice guy.

That being said, we sat down and talked a little about what the future plans are for Miami FC. We looked at this season and asked them what they expected for this year, and what they are looking to do in the years ahead.

First we talked to Luiz and Fernando about the team. Similar to the situation in St. Loius, Miami is going to be playing with a team that is quite new. The Blues only have five returning players, meaning that they will have to start from scratch as well. Even so, the club looks to be bringing in some new players in the coming weeks that will hopefully be able to positive tilt, giving them both additional power up front and on the back line.

We discussed little about the team for this year, and instead focused more on the plans for the team in the upcoming years. As many of you know, Miami FC has been looking at purchasing the Ft. Lauderdale baseball facility that is located next to Lockhart Stadium, which is where Miami FC will be playing this season’s matches. The city is ready to make the deal, but the club currently has issues with the FAA, which might stall the deal even more.

Still, if the facility is acquired by Traffic Sports, there are plans on converting the baseball stadium into Miami’s permanent home stadium. While it isn’t as soccer-specific like Lockhart is, it would be a stadium that they could truely call home. In addition to converting the baseball diamond to a soccer field, the future plans, which Fernando Clavijo showed my on a Google Earth type sketch, showed them building four to five other pitches around the stadium so that they can create a top-notch youth academy.

The future of this team, both Luiz and Fernando told me, was the development of American players. While many teams in the former USL and now the NASL look at past collegiate players, former USL players and players from abroad (which Miami FC does have their connection with Brazil, as I am sure we all know), the team and staff thinks that it is of utmost importance of developing young players domestically.

“A lot of people in this country have given up on American players and say that they can’t be developed. We plan on working to developing Americans,” said Clavijo.

In the last month, we have seen the Tampa Bay Rowdies introduce plans on creating an academy for the near future. Now Miami looks to be expand as well. They already work with the Kendall Soccer Coalition and the USSF with the Development Academy Program in Ft. Lauderdale. But now the team looks to be working to create something on their own.

Later in the evening, I sat down and spoke with both Aaron Davidson of the NASL’s Director of Communication Kartik Krishnaiyer to talk about the future of the NASL.

The first set of questions that I asked Davidson was about the possibility of NASL being televised this season. While some teams already have local television contracts, he said that this year, teams need to cooperate with one another to make sure that as many games as possible are either televised or streamed on broadband. Therefore, from what I gathered, there is no centralized plan for games being televised for 2010. But Davidson said that 2011 would be different.

Also during my time at their offices, I had the feeling that the USSF is putting down the clamps on not only the television, but other aspects of the league as well. Still, Davidson said that there needs to be some type of brotherhood between the team in order to televise the games. So, my friends, it looks like the ball is in AC St. Louis’ court as far as watching away games on TV or online.

We also talked about expansion of the NASL. In addition to Edmonton, Davidson said there is a likelihood that there will be two other teams that we will see in the NASL coming in 2011.

Finally we talked about the future of the league. Davidson said that there needs to be a cooperation between all soccer leagues within this country in order for the game to be promoted. He stated that the goal is to promote soccer. And during the next few years, the NASL will be going through trials that might work or might not work. Davidson continued to say that he hopes that all soccer leagues will be able to learn from each other in order to work toward promoting the ‘beautiful game’ in the US.

Oh, and finally, Frenando Clavijo said hello to all the people in St. Louis. As many of you know, I’m sure, Clavijo played for the St. Louis Storm at the end of his career. He said he does plan on making the trip to the Miami FC vs. AC St. Louis match.

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4 Responses

  1. That’s funny….there needs to be cooperation. Meanwhile the NASL is doing everything it can to NOT cooperate with the USL. Nicely done.

  2. @ Jason. It was USL that didn’t cooperate with their teams and their needs for years.
    Those teams created the NASL and now run their own destiny.

  3. Also, the successful USL teams, with the exception of Portland, jumped to the NASL.

  4. This is a better solution all the way around. This way the owners can decide what is right for their clubs.

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