Inter Miami CF

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Inter Miami
Full nameClub Internacional de Fútbol Miami
Nickname(s)The Herons
Vice City
(El) Inter
Short nameInter Miami
FoundedJanuary 29, 2018; 5 years ago (January 29, 2018)
StadiumDRV PNK Stadium
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
PresidentDavid Beckham
Head coachGerardo Martino
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2023Eastern Conference: 14th
Overall: 27th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (lit. Miami International Football Club), known as Inter Miami CF or Inter Miami, is an American professional soccer club based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Established in 2018, the club began playing in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS) during the 2020 season. The club garnered international attention prior to its founding because of club president and co-owner David Beckham and again in 2023 when it signed legendary footballer Lionel Messi. Following the signing, the club won its first major trophy, the expanded 2023 Leagues Cup, the North American zonal competition for the CONCACAF region.



In November 2012, MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league's renewed interest in placing an expansion franchise in Miami,[3] after the Miami Fusion folded following the 2001 season and an expansion bid led by Miami-based Bolivian telecom entrepreneur Marcelo Claure and FC Barcelona failed in 2009.[4]

When David Beckham, whose business manager Simon Fuller had the idea[5] of giving him an option to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league in 2007,[6] ended his playing career in April 2013, the MLS held discussions with Fuller about several expansion targets, including Miami.[7] That same year, other investors, including Italian financier Alessandro Butini[8] and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross expressed interest in owning a Miami franchise as well.[9]

In 2013, when David Beckham was interviewed by CNN, he thanked Fuller for the ground breaking MLS deal he had negotiated back in 2007 and specifically the clause that Fuller had insisted on inserting to the player's benefit: “When I signed my contract six, seven years ago, my manager Simon Fuller actually got a clause in the contract that enabled me to have a franchise at the end of my playing career”.[10] In his December 2013 State of the League address, Garber had identified Beckham and Fuller as potential owners in Miami.[11] Later that month, on December 17, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted unanimously to allow Mayor Carlos A. Giménez to negotiate with the Beckham-led group on a new stadium in downtown Miami.[12] The league announced that Beckham exercised his option on February 5, 2014,[13] and that Miami Beckham United,[14] the investment group led by Beckham, Fuller and Claure, would own an expansion franchise in Miami, assuming that financing for a stadium could be agreed upon.[15] In presentations to officials and potential investors, the ownership group used "Miami Vice" and "Miami Current" as working titles for the club.[16] After its initial stadium proposals fell through, Commissioner Garber reiterated in August 2014 that the expansion would not be approved until a downtown stadium plan was secured and it was only after Fuller introduced Beckham to the Jorge and José Mas, that the plan was green lit.[17][18] Beckham bought Fuller out in May 2019.[19]

On January 29, 2018, the Miami Beckham United group (consisting of Beckham, Claure, Fuller, Masayoshi Son [founder and CEO of SoftBank] and Jorge and José Mas, the Miami-based leaders of telecommunications and construction company MasTec) four years after the ownership's original announcement of pursuing a team, was awarded the twenty-fifth MLS franchise and was set to launch in the 2020 season.[20][21] The announcement represented part of a larger MLS expansion that would increase its number of teams to 26 by 2020 and 30 after that. Since Beckham's original announcement of his intention to place a team in Miami in 2014, Orlando City, New York City FC, Atlanta United, Minnesota United, Los Angeles FC, and FC Cincinnati have all begun MLS play. Paul McDonough was hired as sporting director effective August 4.[22] The team's ownership group was later renamed Miami Freedom Park LLC.[23] They announced Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, shortened to Inter Miami CF, as the club's official name on September 5, 2018.[24]

On December 30, 2019, former Uruguay national team player and C.F. Monterrey manager Diego Alonso was announced as the club's inaugural head coach.[25][26]

Early years (2020–2023)[edit]

Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuaín signed with Miami in 2020

Inter Miami's first MLS game was played on March 1, 2020, losing 1–0, away to Los Angeles FC.[27] Designated Player Rodolfo Pizarro scored the first goal in Inter Miami history the following game on March 7, in a 2–1 loss to D.C. United.[28] Their first home match was supposed to be on March 14, 2020, against LA Galaxy, Beckham's former club. The match has since been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[29] On August 23, 2020, Inter Miami recorded their first franchise victory, 3–2 over Orlando City.[30] On January 18, 2021, England Women's manager Phil Neville was appointed as the new head coach, and Seattle Sounders FC's Chris Henderson as chief soccer officer and sporting director.[31][32][33]

In 2021, the Mas brothers finalized a buyout to take over majority ownership of the team from Claure and Son.[34] On May 28, 2021, MLS announced that it would sanction Inter Miami CF, owner Jorge Mas, and former sporting director Paul McDonough for violating roster rules during the 2020 season. The club had signed Blaise Matuidi and Andrés Reyes using targeted allocation money (TAM) to comply with salary cap requirements and avoid using its three Designated Player slots, but were found to have exceeded the TAM maximum of $1.61 million per player. MLS fined the club $2 million and reduced its allocation dollars by $2.27 million for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, while Mas was fined $250,000 and McDonough was suspended from league activities through the end of the 2022 season.[35] Prior to the announcement, Matuidi was reclassified as a Designated Player by taking the slot occupied by Matías Pellegrini, who was loaned to Inter Miami CF II after his contract was bought out by the club.[36]

Messi era (2023–present)[edit]

Argentine attacker Lionel Messi signed with Miami in July 2023.

On June 1, 2023, Inter Miami announced that the club had parted ways with Neville. At the time, the club was placed last in the Eastern Conference.[37] Four days later, the- Eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi announced his intention to join the club as a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, turning down an offer to play for Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal and ruling out a return to FC Barcelona.[38] Messi signed his Designated Player contract on July 15, 2023, joining the team through the 2025 MLS season.[39] Argentine and former Barça manager Tata Martino was appointed as the head coach of the club on June 28 and joined Miami the following month.[40]

Messi formally joined the team, alongside former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets, at an unveiling ceremony on July 16.[41] Five days later, another of his former Barcelona teammates, Jordi Alba, also signed for Inter Miami.[42] Following Messi's arrival, resale ticket prices for his first games with the club increased by over 1,000%. Inter Miami became the top selling team across all sports on e-commerce retailer Fanatics, while Messi broke the record for most shirt sales in 24 hours.[43] The average price for tickets to Miami matches on reseller StubHub increased five-fold to $161 on average.[44]

Messi and Busquets made their debuts on July 21, 2023, at home in a 2–1 win over Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup, with both players coming on in the 54th minute.[45] Messi scored the winning goal from a free-kick in stoppage time, ending Miami's 11 game winless streak.[46] On August 19, in the Leagues Cup final against Nashville SC, Inter Miami won its first-ever Leagues Cup title, winning 10–9 in penalties after a 1–1 draw.[47]

On August 23, 2023, in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, Inter Miami beat FC Cincinnati in penalties 5–4 after a 3–3 draw in extra time to go into the finals on September 27, were they lost against the Houston Dynamo FC 2–1, after Messi was unable to play.[48]

On August 26, 2023, Messi, Busquets and Alba marked their first appearances in the MLS against New York Red Bulls, which ended in a 2–0 victory.[49] Both players being brought in as substitutes in the 60th minute, and Messi netted the concluding goal. On September 16, 2023, Inter Miami were defeated for the first time in the Messi era without Messi or Alba playing against Atlanta United FC, being defeated 5–2, ending their 12-match unbeaten run.[50] On October 7, 2023, Inter Miami were defeated by FC Cincinnati, despite Messi being subbed on in the 55th minute. This result eliminated them from making the MLS playoffs.[51] The Decision Day match between Inter Miami and Charlotte FC was held on October 21, 2023. Inter Miami were defeated 1–0, despite having Messi in for the entire match. This match marked the first time for Inter Miami that Messi played on artificial turf and wore away colors.[52]

On October 30, 2023, Inter Miami became the only MLS team to have a current player win the Ballon d'Or while at the club, when Messi secured his 8th award.[53] Because of this, Inter Miami will hold a friendly match with New York City FC entitled Noche d’Or. Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or will be presented at the DRV PNK stadium.[54]

In November 2023, Inter Miami were going to visit two Chinese Super League teams, Qingdao Hainiu F.C. and Chengdu Rongcheng F.C., in friendly matches as part of the club's first ever international tour.[55] However, it was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances in China.[56]

Colors and badge[edit]

The Miami Beckham United group unveiled the team's name and colors on September 5, 2018. The name was announced as Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (Inter Miami CF). The crest, designed in style and colors that recall the city's Art Deco architectural tradition, displays two great white herons with interlocking legs forming a letter M. Between the herons is an eclipse, the sun bearing seven rays in an homage to the number Beckham often wore as a player.[57][58][59][60] The full achievement displays the team name encircling all with the Roman numerals MMXX representing the year 2020, the inaugural season of play.[61] The three pointed shield represents the three main communities of South Florida: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. The club's colors are pink and black.

The species of the birds in the crest was the subject of debate after its announcement and unveiling, with some speculating them to be flamingos and egrets.[62] The team later announced that the birds are white herons.[63]

The club's name has been the subject of a trademark dispute with Italian club Inter Milan, which had filed a claim with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the protected use of "Inter" in 2014. MLS filed an objection to the trademark claim in April 2019, arguing that the name "Inter" was generic due to its use by other clubs and could not be claimed exclusively.[64] As of 2021, the case continues.[65]


Miami Freedom Park[edit]

The site of the former Melreese Country Club is the future location of Miami Freedom Park.

In March 2020, Inter Miami began to play in Fort Lauderdale. They will continue to do so until their new stadium, temporarily known as Miami Freedom Park, is completed.[66][67] The project will include a 25,000-seat stadium that would form part of Freedom Park, a mixed-use complex on the former site of the city-owned Melreese Country Club near the Miami International Airport. Approval for construction of the stadium depended on the outcome of a public referendum held on November 6, 2018 and approval of city officials.[68] The result of the referendum had roughly 60 percent of voters approving the measure to convert the city-owned golf course near the international airport into Inter Miami CF's new stadium.[69]

The development, being built on 131-acre (53 ha) public land, will include 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of office, retail and commercial space, 750 hotel rooms, 23 acres (9.3 ha) of public soccer fields in addition to the 10.5-acre (4.2 ha) stadium, and the remaining 58 acres (23 ha) will be a public park. The club owners will also make annual installments of $20 million for 30 years for improvements to public parks across the city.[70]

The site follows a lengthy exploration of other locations since Beckham’s purchase of the franchise.[71] Noted locations that had previously been considered included: Dodge Island at PortMiami (2013), the Downtown Miami waterfront at Museum Park (2014),[72][73] a site adjacent to MLB's Marlins Park (2015), and a privately owned site in Miami's Overtown (2015–16).[74][75][76][77]

In August 2023 it was announced that the final legal hurdle had been cleared and construction had finally commenced on the stadium, with an anticipated completion date of 2025, which is the final year of Messi’s contract with the club.[78]

DRV PNK Stadium[edit]

DRV PNK Stadium entrance

DRV PNK Stadium is a soccer stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium.[79] The stadium is oriented north–south for soccer configuration, so the sun won't be in the eyes of the goal keeper.[80] The stadium is the primary headquarters for the team and its youth academy in addition to further training grounds.[80]

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced in 2016 that they were moving out of Lockhart Stadium,[81] after which the stadium fell into a state of disrepair.[82] In late January 2019, Inter Miami announced its intentions to pursue the Lockhart Stadium site to serve as the club's training ground for its first team, USL League One reserve team Inter Miami CF II, and youth academy. The development would also include a 21,000-seat stadium, which will serve as the permanent home of Inter Miami CF II and as the interim home for Inter Miami for at least the first two seasons while the Miami Freedom Park stadium is under construction.[83] The Fort Lauderdale city council unanimously approved Inter Miami's bid for the Lockhart Stadium site in March 2019. In April, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission cleared Inter Miami to begin the demolition process.[82][84] On July 9, 2019, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously approved a 50-year lease agreement for the Lockhart Stadium site with Inter Miami; under the terms of the agreement, the city will retain ownership of the property while the soccer club will be responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the new facilities.[85]

Training complex[edit]

In late January 2019, the club announced its intentions to pursue the Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale to serve as the club's training ground for its first team, youth academy, and future United Soccer League (USL) team.[86]

The new training complex consist of over 30 acres (12 ha) of grass and green space, that will include various amenities such as a park, youth soccer fields, and a community center. Upon completion, the complex is used as the permanent training facilities for all levels of Inter Miami's teams ranging from their Youth Academy teams and USL League One team to the first team that plays in MLS.[87]


The ownership group behind the franchise was first formed in 2013 as Miami Beckham United, though it now trades under the name Miami Freedom Park LLC.[23] The original ownership group was led by Miami-based Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure,[88] while Masayoshi Son and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas were added to the ownership group in 2017.[89] The effort originated in a contract David Beckham signed with MLS in 2007; he joined LA Galaxy and negotiated an option to own an expansion team at a discounted franchise fee.[23][90]

On September 17, 2021, it was announced that Beckham and the Mas brothers had bought out Claure and Son's stakes in the ownership group.[91] Ares Management was also added to the ownership group.[92]


Supporter section at DRV PNK Stadium with The Siege (Siege Miami) in the right and Vice City 1896 and Southern Legion (La Legion) in the middle

The club has four official supporters groups: The Siege, Southern Legion, Vice City 1896, and Nación Rosa Y Negro.[93]


The club has an intrastate rivalry with Orlando City SC, currently the team's closest neighbors and only other Florida-based team in MLS.[94] Orlando City joined MLS in 2015 but had to wait until its sixth season to play a first intrastate match against an MLS opponent following the introduction of Inter Miami as an expansion franchise in 2020. Unlike a lot of rivalries in Major League Soccer, there is no name for this series although several have been proposed to little to no success.[95]

The club also has an intracity rivalry in USL Championship club Miami FC. It is known as the "Miami Clásico".[96]



Leagues Cup

Players and staff[edit]


As of November 15, 2023[97]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK United States USA Drake Callender
2 DF United States USA DeAndre Yedlin
3 MF Ecuador ECU Dixon Arroyo
4 DF Sweden SWE Christopher McVey
5 MF Spain ESP Sergio Busquets (DP)
6 DF Argentina ARG Tomás Avilés
7 MF Brazil BRA Jean Mota
8 MF Paraguay PAR Diego Gómez
9 FW Ecuador ECU Leonardo Campana (DP)
10 FW Argentina ARG Lionel Messi (captain; DP)
11 MF Argentina ARG Facundo Farías
14 FW France FRA Corentin Jean
15 DF United States USA Ryan Sailor
16 MF Finland FIN Robert Taylor
18 DF Spain ESP Jordi Alba
19 FW United States USA Robbie Robinson
22 FW Argentina ARG Nicolás Stefanelli
No. Pos. Nation Player
24 DF United States USA Ian Fray (HG)
26 MF Brazil BRA Gregore (vice-captain)
27 DF Ukraine UKR Serhiy Kryvtsov
28 MF Dominican Republic DOM Edison Azcona (HG)
29 GK United States USA CJ dos Santos
30 MF United States USA Benjamin Cremaschi (HG)
31 DF Canada CAN Kamal Miller
32 DF United States USA Noah Allen (HG)
33 DF Argentina ARG Franco Negri
35 FW United States USA Felipe Valencia (HG)
41 MF Honduras HON David Ruiz (HG)
43 MF United States USA Lawson Sunderland
81 MF United States USA Santiago Morales (HG)
89 FW Costa Rica CRC Cameron Johnson
99 GK United States USA Cole Jensen

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
12 FW United States USA Jake LaCava (on loan to Tampa Bay Rowdies)
20 DF Republic of Ireland IRL Harvey Neville (on loan to Loudoun United)
25 FW Colombia COL Emerson Rodríguez (on loan to Santos Laguna)
No. Pos. Nation Player
49 FW Haiti HAI Shanyder Borgelin (on loan to New Mexico United)
DF Argentina ARG Leandro González Pírez (on loan to River Plate)

Technical staff[edit]

As of June 28, 2023
Role Name Nation
Head coach Gerardo Martino  Argentina
Assistant coach Jorge Theiler  Argentina
Assistant coach Javier Morales  Argentina
Assistant coach Gerardo Andres Martino  Argentina
Fitness coach Rodolfo Paladini  Argentina
Assistant fitness coach Manuel Alfaro  Argentina
Goalkeeping coach Sebastián Saja  Argentina
Video analyst Damian Silvero  Argentina
Video analyst Connor Ceballos  United States
Performance director Garrison Draper  United States
Sporting director Chris Henderson  United States
Director of soccer operations Niki Budalić  Canada
Director of player development Darren Powell  England
Director of scouting Mark Prizant  United States
Scouting agent Benjamin Hensel  Germany
Director of analytics Sam Gregory  Canada

Head coaches[edit]

As of October 7, 2023

Name Nationality Tenure G W D L Win %
Diego Alonso  Uruguay December 30, 2019 – January 7, 2021 24 7 3 14 029.17
Phil Neville  England January 18, 2021 – June 1, 2023 90 35 13 42 038.89
Javier Morales (interim)  Argentina June 1, 2023 – July 10, 2023 7 1 3 3 014.29
Gerardo Martino  Argentina July 10, 2023 – present 20 9 6 5 045.00



Season League Position Playoffs USOC Continental / Other Average
Top goalscorer(s)
League Pld W L D GF GA GD Pts PPG Conf. Overall Name(s) Goals
2020 MLS 23 7 13 3 25 35 –10 24 1.04 10th 19th PR NH MLS is Back Tournament GS 2,216 Scotland Lewis Morgan 5
2021 MLS 34 12 17 5 36 53 –17 41 1.21 11th 20th NH 14,713 Argentina Gonzalo Higuaín 12
2022 MLS 34 14 14 6 47 56 –9 48 1.41 6th 12th R1 Ro16 12,613 Argentina Gonzalo Higuaín 16
2023 MLS 34 9 18 7 41 54 –13 34 1.00 14th 27th RU Leagues Cup W 17,698 Venezuela Josef Martínez 12
Total 125 42 62 21 149 198 –49 147 1.18 Argentina Gonzalo Higuaín 29

^ 1. Avg. attendance include statistics from league matches only.

^ 2. Top goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, MLS is Back Tournament, Leagues Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.


Reserve team[edit]

On October 9, 2019, the club announced that they will be fielding a reserve team in the third tier of US Soccer, USL League One. This team allows the club to prepare future players with quality competition in hopes of being called up to the first team. The unnamed League One Miami team will train at the training facilities of Inter Miami CF Stadium.[98]

The team was to open their inaugural season on March 27, 2020, against Union Omaha at Inter Miami CF Stadium but the match was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[99]

On February 24, 2022, Fort Lauderdale CF announced that the team had rebranded as Inter Miami CF II ahead of their move to the MLS Next Pro, the new reserve league for MLS teams.[100]


The Inter Miami CF Academy is the official youth academy and development system of Inter Miami CF that was established in 2019.[101] The academy consists of various levels of age groups, ranging from U-12 to U-17. These teams will also train at the training grounds in Inter Miami CF Stadium alongside their MLS and USL League One counterparts. All of Inter Miami's youth teams compete in the MLS Next soccer league as of the inaugural 2022 season. The system covers the under-12, under-13, under-14, under-15, and under-17 age groups.[102]


The team's first three matches in the 2020 season were assigned to national broadcasts; a broadcast deal was not announced before the suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the team did announce that Ray Hudson would serve as color commentator,[103] Andres Cordero served as the play-by-play commentator, joined by Fernando Fiore as the host, and Kaylyn Kyle as the sideline reporter.[104] On April 3, 2020, the club announced a regional English-language television deal with CBS Television Stations, under which its regional matches will air on MyNetworkTV affiliate WBFS-TV, with selected matches airing on CBS station WFOR-TV.[105] Then on April 30, the club announced a Spanish rights deal with Univision, where games would be aired on its TV affiliate WAMI and radio affiliate WQBA, with a broadcast team consisting of Ramses Sandoval, Luis Omar Tapia [es], Daniel Nohra [es], Diego Balado [es], Nicholas Cantor and Tony Cherchi.[106]

All of Major League Soccer's regional television contracts expired after the 2023 season, with all television coverage moving to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.[107]


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