Riccardo Silva and Paolo Maldini aren’t waiting to see if David Beckham and crew can resolve a Miami MLS roadblock: they’re launching Miami FC in NASL for the 2016 season.
The club will also compete in the U.S. Open Cup and will host international tournaments and friendly matches in Miami. No word on where Miami FC will play, but chances are pretty good you’ll see discussions of Marlins Park, SunLife Stadium or FAU — the usual suspects, mentioned in conjunction with MLS as well — as potential homes of the team arise.
Maldini should be a familiar name to soccer fans: he represented Italy in four FIFA World Cups and won five European club championships with AC Milan, where he spent his entire 25-year playing career. Silva is the founder of MP & Silva, which owns, manages and distributes sports media rights around the world from its London headquarters. Part of the play here is purely media-driven: the plan is to distribute Miami FC matches worldwide through an estimated 50 TV channels covering more than 150 countries throughout the global market. In addition, the MP & Silva group will be a shareholder of the newly formed Miami FC.
Other investors include Antonio Barreto, a longtime sports and media entrepreneur and Miami resident who will be CEO of Miami FC.
“I’m proud to support a venture that is not only bringing world-class professional soccer to Miami but also a project with an active charity program for the local community,” said Silva, who will serve as president of Miami FC. “As Miami moves forward in the world of business and arts, we feel that it’s a good time to also take a step further in the world of sports and soccer, and we will do that with dedication and passion, bringing our business and soccer expertise. Soccer is the fastest growing professional sport in the USA, and Miami is a dynamic and multi-cultural city that is passionate for sports and has been longing for a marquee soccer franchise.”
“I’m proud and excited to be part of this venture,” Maldini said. “I strongly believe in the growth of soccer in the USA, and this is the perfect project to develop a top-class soccer team in one of the most important cities in the world. We are glad not only to bring a professional soccer team to Miami, but also to support all of its communities through our social responsibility commitment. We believe that the fast-growing NASL will be the perfect platform to develop a successful team and a valuable business. Miami has been my second home for 15 years, so I look forward to spending more and more time here as co-owner of Miami FC, giving my enthusiastic contribution for its success.”
“This exciting announcement is another testament to the strength of our rapidly growing organization, our owner-friendly structure, and the growing popularity of NASL soccer worldwide Riccardo Silva is a world leader in soccer media, and he has decided, along with his partners, that Miami and the NASL are part of an important future for the game globally,” said MLS Commissioner Bill Peterson.
One important endorsement comes from Fort Lauderdale Strikers Managing Partner Ricardo Geromel, who will be sharing the greater Miami market with FC: “The Fort Lauderdale Strikers welcome Miami FC to the NASL. I’m certain that the ownership group led by Riccardo Silva and Paolo Maldini will create a first-class organization. We expect a healthy and passionate rivalry when we meet on the field, which is great news for South Florida soccer fans. It furthers the case that this region is quickly becoming the soccer capital of North America.”