Former NASL squad Miami FC has purchased USL Championship franchise rights from Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), with the team planning to resume play at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami for the 2020 season.
OSEG announced it was shutting down Ottawa Fury operations at the end of the 2019 USL Championship season after it was denied permission to continue play in USL Championship. CONCACAF–the governing body for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean–initially did not sanction a return to the Division II league, reportedly on the grounds that Canada offered a comparable circuit with the launch of the Canadian Premier League. Ultimately, the sanctioning later went through, allowing Ottawa to complete in USL Championship in 2019 as its lone club outside the United States. But the team failed to obtain sanctioning for 2020, and OSEG decided to shut down Fury operations.
Enter The Miami FC, which found itself out of Division II soccer after the NASL folded after the 2017 season. Several NASL teams, including North Carolina FC, found their way to USL, and now Miami FC is one of them. It also seems to acquired a slightly different moniker along the way: the team is now being billed as The Miami FC. The team is part of an abundance of riches for Miami soccer fans: Inter Miami CF, an MLS expansion squad, will launch play at a renovated Fort Lauderdale stadium in March, while an Inter Miami CF-owned team will launch in USL League One.
“We could not be more excited to bring The Miami FC to the USL Championship in 2020,” said The Miami FC General Manager Paul Dalglish. “We will build on the Fury’s success and honor their history, while also elevating our club and our community as part of the fastest growing professional soccer league in the United States. I want to thank Ottawa Sports Entertainment Group for putting this deal together, and to USL CEO Alec Papadakis for welcoming us to the league.”
“We are extremely grateful to USL CEO Alec Papadakis and President Jake Edwards for their leadership and whole-hearted support during this difficult process,” said Ottawa Fury FC President John Pugh. “We’re also thankful to Paul Dalglish and his team for helping to facilitate this transaction and wish The Miami FC well.”
Photo from 2017 NASL season, courtesy Miami FC.