Thursday, May 6, 2010

It could have been us!

In the eve of the possible announcement that the Canadian city of Montreal is going to be awarded an MLS franchise, I can not help to think what would have happened if our city had an team owner who wanted to play at the top league in North America. We have seen team after team make the move for MLS from USL (now NALS). First it was Seattle, despite of playing in USL their ownership recognized that a move to MLS would enhance the profile of soccer in the city, and look what they have become. Then, it was Portland and Vancouver, they also reconized that their fans wanted MLS and they went for it. Now is Montreal. I am not putting down any of the merits of these cities, they all deserve to be playing at the highest level of soccer in North America, but I can't help wonder what do these cities have that Miami does not have. I know some of you are going to say passionate fans. None of these teams were breaking attendance records while at USL, the hardcore fans were always there, and they probably grew bigger and stronger because they saw that their ownerships were aiming towards MLS.

We have passionate fans here too. We have the Miami Ultras, who have shown they will follow Miami FC in Miami and Broward, also the Fusion were averaging more than 11,000 in the year the got contracted. USMNT-Brazil ratings in Confederations cup were higher in Miami-Fort Lauderdale than any other media market in the country, including NY, Seattle etc. Even, West Palm beach did great and was rank 4 overall. I mean, the fans are here but we need to turn them on, and the first step is to at least play in the biggest stage, which for this country is MLS.

The ironic thing about this is the our team owner is a soccer company, so you would think they would want their team to play at the highest level, or else why be in this market. Yet they are probably the only ownership, in USL/NASL that has not publicly stated that want to make the jump. I can only wonder what would have happened if they had picked-up the pieces of the failed Barcelona bid, and continue working just like Montreal did, and my feeling is that we would probably be making our announcement too. Think about it, we have a brand new (perfect size) stadium in FIU (they are salivating to be in MLS), we have a professional team playing in the area run by a soccer company which organizes events as big a Copa America, Copa Sudamericana. They can organize friendlies to raise awarness for the bid, they can start building a team brand, and build momentum, but they only detail is that they do not want to join MLS, beacuse if they did, in my opinion we would be hearing lots of chatter from our ownership.

Since our ownership will not do it, help me raise awarness or our desire for MLS by signing up for MLS Miami season ticket dedications and mention it to your friends.

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