NASL swoops in to south Florida, expands to Miami before MLS

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The NASL just one-upped Major League Soccer.

In a move that has “competition” written all over it, the NASL announced it will expand to Miami by launching Miami FC thanks to an ownership group that is headlined by Italian soccer legend Paolo Maldini.

According to the press release written by the league, Miami FC does not have a designated stadium yet, but will not build one either, instead committing to play home games “in one of the existing world-class stadiums of Miami.”

Major League Soccer has been actively looking to expand in Miami with David Beckham leading the ownership group, but has hit a road block in its search for a suitable site to build a soccer-specific stadium. In what appears to be a direct stab at this struggle, another NASL press release with quotes from various parties begins with the following statement: “The NASL announced Wednesday that Miami FC will begin play in 2016 as the city’s only professional soccer club.”

Ouch.

“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,” said NASL commissioner Bill Petersen through the press release.

Maldini also sang the praises of soccer in the United States.

“I’m proud and excited to be part of this venture,” Maldini said in the release. “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.”

Alongside Maldini in the ownership group is Italian businessman Riccardo Silva. Miami FC becomes the fourth NASL club in the state of Florida. While Beckham, Don Garber, and Major League Soccer searches south Florida high and low for a new soccer home, the NASL has struck first. What next for MLS?