- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On June 25, 2008
- 4 Comments
- Miami Expansion, MLS Expansion
I know this was some news a few weeks back when the deadline passed for the city of Miami and their proposed soccer stadium. But the talk today pretty much summed up the hopes of Miami soccer fans, and it’s not a good one.
While a Major League Soccer club and stadium could still be in the mix for the old Orange Bowl site, the city won’t build a soccer stadium on the site until at least 2011. That date is due to the city wanting to wait until the new baseball stadium next door is open and selling hot dogs like a normal stadium would.
“We started, we had several conversations with MLS (Major League Soccer), but they have to go through their process” of awarding a franchise to the city and finding an owner, he said. “It’s not something that’s done in what I would call a very short time window of months” laid out in the February baseball agreement between the city, Miami-Dade County and the Marlins.
The agreement stipulates that the city can’t begin constructing a soccer stadium until two years after the baseball park is complete if a soccer franchise was not granted by June 1 or if construction of the soccer stadium “cannot reasonably be expected to be completed” by 60 days after opening day in 2011.
The city does hold rights to build a soccer stadium but again that doesn’t look too good at this point.
I still feel Miami went a little backwards in getting a MLS club back in their city. They had a proposed deal for a stadium, which seemed all good but they gave themselves a deadline that was really unattainable in getting an ownership group in place. MLS probably wanted a stable owner with fairly deep pockets for this deal and no one stepped up to the plate in time.
Looks like Miami’s hopes are that MLS doesn’t expand past 18 clubs by the year 2012. I believe that even if they were to build a new stadium in 2011, they wouldn’t have a club start up until at least 2012 or 2013 at the earliest. I’m pretty sure by 2011 we will know of the 17th and 18th MLS clubs. Hell, I wouldn’t be all that shocked by 2012 that we know of at least the 19th and maybe the 20th MLS clubs.
I know Miami fans don’t want to hear it but it looks like the southeast’s hopes for a MLS club are now going to Atlanta.
Tough break but that’s just what happens when you mix politics and soccer. At least you got South Beach!