Written by Daniel Torres/Staff Writer
Chaos struck throughout the FIU community on Thursday, February 7 as word got out that Inter Miami CF was negotiating with the university to secure the Riccardo Silva Stadium as its temporary playing field.
But, on Thursday, March 14, owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas showed up at the Lockhart Stadium site proposing a deal to the city of Fort Lauderdale to make the stadium its temporary home for the training facility and its North American Soccer League affiliate team.
Inter Miami CF will use Lockhart Stadium for its inaugural season in March 2020.
As FIU was a favorite option for many fans, Marlins Park and Hard Rock Stadium were also listed as options for the team. But, what went wrong with the other two options including FIU?
Beckham couldn’t reach an agreement with FIU and Miami FC about sharing the Riccardo Silva Stadium.
The major concern for Inter Miami CF was the prioritization of its club at FIU.
Riccardo Silva Stadium prioritizes FIU football followed by the National Premier Soccer League team, Miami FC who has a lease contract with the university.
Rumors started to swirl that Miami FC would be “kicked-out” of FIU and forced to play their matches at Barry University where the team already trains. FIU athletics and Miami FC were reached out to during this time and didn’t comment on the situation.
“Riccardo Silva Stadium turf is an issue and players like Griezmann don’t want to play on turf,” said the Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough.
With Inter Miami CF not playing at FIU, this allows Miami FC to continue to play their games at the Riccardo Silva Stadium.
“We love FIU and can’t wait to get back to work there” said Miami FC head coach Alessandro Nesta in a public announcement.
In a tweet from February 2, Miami FC posted a tweet showing that the team would continue to play at the Riccardo Silva Stadium. But, in an article from Thursday, March 7, Miami FC made an announcement that they would be playing their 2019 National Premier Soccer League Sunshine Conference and their four Founders Cup home matches at Barry University for the spring season. But, they [Miami FC] will play at the Riccardo Silva Stadium in the fall.
Marlins Park was put out of the question for the location of the Inter Miami CF as the Major League Baseball season runs at the same time as the Major League Soccer season. Also, the Marlins did not want to constantly change from a baseball field to a soccer field.
Hard Rock Stadium was put out of the question as the stadium struck a deal with the Miami Open to host the annual men and women’s tennis tournament. This will run at the same time as the MLS season.
Beckham’s ownership group faced many challenges in securing a temporary site while Miami Freedom Park is being constructed.
Miami Freedom Park is the name of the soccer stadium being built through funding by Beckham’s ownership group. The plans for its construction was approved by the city commissioners last year in November.
Mas was the subject of criticism after the Lockhart announcement as fans wanted the training facility to be in Miami.
“It could have been in Miami but ZERO ability to build world class complex. Their hands are tied by antiquated laws,” said Mas in a tweet from Wednesday, March 20. “Our parks are cow pastures and kids have to go to Orlando to play tourneys. Sad state of affairs in Miami Dade. Ft. Lauderdale displayed vision. Hats off to them.”
Mas also went on to elaborate that Miami Dade parks are torn up from overuse and are more like cow pastures.
Inter Miami CF is committed to help and I support them.
Feature Image by Nicholas Poblete/PantherNOW