The shocking, yet predictable announcement on Wednesday that the NASL would put a club in Miami, has been met with a mixture of opinions from soccer enthusiast, and writers alike.
Although not MLS as they had hoped, Miami finally has their team.
Miami soccer fans must erase its entitlement complex when it comes to MLS in order to be able to see the bigger picture, Miami FC is blessing in disguise.
The reactions from many MLS Miami fans on twitter are not favorable towards the new NASL expansion side. Many have come out and said they “deserve” an MLS club and that they will not spend their hard-earned money watching second division soccer. Others have said they want “The highest talent possible” and so will also pass on the NASL Miami club in hopes MLS comes down with Beckham.
The most successful clubs in MLS all began with grassroots, lower division clubs. Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, Orlando City, all began as lower division clubs whom built their fanbase from scratch and poked their way towards MLS. Those clubs earned their bid Miami has not. However, this might be their shot.
Let’s try and ignore the fact that a team by the name of Miami FC has already played in the second division of US Soccer and failed tremendously. Look at this new club as a shot at redemption.
If MLS Miami fans think that Don Garber will not be watching how they treat this young Division II club, they are strongly mistaken.
In 2011, Don Garber came to Fort Lauderdale and explained that South Floridians must do everything they can to organize, congregate, and improve attendance for its local team, Miami FC (who a few months after were rebranded as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers), to “prove to MLS headquarters that South Florida can support a Division I team.”
From 2006-2010, Miami FC played in the then-second division of US Soccer to a dismal average attendance of only 1,401 in those four years.
The club boasted iconic players like Romario and Zinho and still were unable to draw at FIU Stadium.
In 2007, the club had a terrible season attendance-wise, drawing only 916 fans to their matches. Three years later, Traffic Sports, the ownership group behind Miami FC, realized the “Miami experiment” was a mistake and relocated the franchise to Fort Lauderdale and saw a renaissance in the attendance with over 3,000 fans coming to Lockhart Stadium that first season.
“Miami needs to change its reputation as a market that believes in professional soccer,” said Garber back in 2011. “I’m telling you as a guy who’s sitting in New York and promoting soccer matches, we worry about this market. This is a risky market for international soccer. There is no reason why it should be.”
Although David Beckham has come out and stated his desires to bring an MLS franchise to the city, looks as if Garber’s concerns from 2011 still ring true, as they have not yet finalized a deal.
Graber refuses to take the “If you build it they will come” mentality with Miami, and wants to see the region not only support its local clubs, but also have a solid stadium plan.
According to sources out of Miami FC, the club will play at FIU Stadium, the site where Miami Beckham United wanted to play yet were denied by MLS.
Will the success of Miami FC be the deciding factor for Don Garber, David Beckham, and Major League Soccer to finally come down to Miami?
Many MLS Miami supporters have said time and time again they do not support the Fort Lauderdale Strikers because they are “too far” from Miami. Well, the NASL has heard them loud and clear.
Time to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Will MLS Miami Supporters go to Miami FC games? Are they really interested in soccer or just the glitz and glam that come with the Beckham brand?