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A Guide To South Florida’s Wild Weeks Of Soccer News

Kenny Malone

A new soccer team in Miami, an FBI raid in Miami Beach and David Beckham’s Major League Soccer odyssey takes an American football turn. It's been a busy few weeks for South Florida soccer news.

Michelle Kaufman covers the beautiful game for the Miami Herald, so we asked her for the CliffsNotes summary of recent soccer events.


On Wednesday, 14 international soccer officials were indicted in a U.S. investigation alleging more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks. Some of those officials are key members of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Switzerland-based organization behind the World Cup.

And of course, “when there’s a scandal around the world there’s always a Miami connection,” Kaufman says. “CONCACAF -- which is the regional confederation for FIFA that oversees North America, Central America and the Caribbean -- is headquartered in Miami Beach. So all of the officials that were indicted that come from CONCACAF, they do their business in Miami Beach.”

In fact, the FBI raided CONCACAF’s Miami Beach offices on Wednesday.

“But the other part is that in South America and Central America in particular, the broadcast rights fees and sponsorship fees for the big tournaments there -- the Copa America, the Copa Libertadores and the Gold Cup -- those were being brokered by a company called Traffic Sports,” says Kaufman. Traffic Sports International “is a Brazilian company but they have a U.S. base in Miami called Traffic [Sports] USA.” The investigation alleges that much of the dirty business and bribery happened through Traffic.

More details on the investigation and local connections here.


While David Beckham continues his quest to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to Miami, a different international soccer star successfully launched a Miami-based North American Soccer League (NASL) team.

The announcement came last week that Miami FC would begin playing in 2016, likely at Florida International University’s football stadium. Italian soccer player Paolo Maldini and sports media tycoon Riccardo Silva are behind the new team.

Kaufman's thoughts as to whether they beat Beckham to the Miami soccer punch:

“[The Beckham group and MLS] would probably tell you... that it really has no bearing on them because they view themselves as first division and NASL is second division. And I think they believe that they would be the larger product and draw the larger audience. But I spoke to the owner of the [Miami FC], Riccardo Silva, who’s also involved in sports marketing and media. He believes there’s room for two teams. He believes that this market, within five to ten years, can support two teams. You know, in New York you have the Yankees and the Mets and the Giants and Jets. And he believes there’s so much love for soccer in this market that it could support two teams.”

More on the Miami FC launch here.


Two days after the Miami FC announcement, David Beckham was in Miami for yet another stadium-location discussion. (Michelle Kaufman calls the timing "interesting.")

Beckham met with outgoing University of Miami president Donna Shalala about building a 40,000-seat stadium that could be used by his MLS team as well as the Hurricanes football team.

“That is the size Miami football really wants for most of its games,” Kaufman says. “If there are one or two games that are bigger, they could still play them at Sun Life [Stadium]. And then for soccer, it’s a little big for MLS. They really prefer 25,000. But the Beckham group is so desperate that they are willing to talk to UM as a partner and maybe do a 40,000-seat stadium.”

More on the UM/Beckham talks here.

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