The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Return of the Florida gambit?

Posted by steigs on December 21, 2007

In the pre-Beckham era of MLS, there was a regular stream of suggestions from aging soccer stars that they might be interested in playing in our league.  (The British press is perpetually awash with “transfer” gossip of all sorts, often of dubious reliability, and it would usually come to our notice there.)  Back then, it often came in the form of a suggestion that the player might be interested in playing Florida, a sunny playground for Europeans.  I suppose it conjured up images of relaxing sunny days, with training stints alternating with trips to the beach.  It was especially amusing that these stories continued to pop up even after MLS contracted away the teams in Florida, Tampa’s Mutiny and Miami’s Fusion (RIP).  You’d think an agent worth his salt would at least know to suggest his player might have an option to play for a team that actually existed…

Nowadays, the new aging star move is to suggest he might follow Beckham’s lead to MLS.  The league appears to have new energy, as it expands (back) to San Jose, and then Seattle, and perhaps one more city by 2010.  The leading candidates for that last slot have generally considered to be Philly and St. Louis.  But is Miami getting into the mix?  It appears it might:

Miami Dade County, which backed the plan on Tuesday, is ready to put aside $50 million for the new soccer stadium and that could help persuade Major League Soccer (MLS) that Miami is the right place for an expansion team.

If it comes to pass, I look forward to the revival of those British stories suggesting aging players tired of the rain and cold of England could be persuaded to ply their trade in Miami…

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One Response to “Return of the Florida gambit?”

  1. Yeah, Florida soccer failed. With some of the most interesting players in MLS history, it failed. I believe Valderrama lazily dished out dimes from midfield for a Florida franchise. Are they assuming that Robbie Fowler will put asses in the seats?

    Florida is just a horrible fan base. If I were the MLS (which I’m not, as I’ve detailed at my own blog–Beckham rule would have never passed muster with me, thank you) I’d continue to look at big cities that have soccer bases. Miami didn’t work out. Because Miami is fucking expensive.

    Look at Milwaukee, say. Wisconsin is a huge soccer state. They have the Bucks and the Brewers. Put a winning soccer franchise there, and watch the dollars flow.

    That said–if Miami builds a soccer specific stadium, soccer could be successful there. But will they build that stadium, given that the MLS contracted two Florida teams? Fuck, you could build a stadium in Charlottesville, VA, only allow UVA grads to play, and that stadium would be jampacked, and that team would be competitive.

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