Remember when Barcelona combined with Marcelo Claure and Florida International University to submit a bid to bring MLS back to South Florid? As MLS fans well know, the Miami Fusion entered the League as an expansion team in 1998 and were contracted just four years later. That background, combined with South Florida’s rather weak history of supporting its teams (Florida Marlins anyone?), has lead many to scoff at any move back to the Miami area. Add in the lack of a Soccer Specific Stadium (the team would share with the FIU Football team) and the idea once seemed dead in the water. Yet now there seems to be increasing momentum towards MLS in Miami, and the reemergence of Claure as possible player is definitely interesting. Claure has risen “to the top of Hispanic Business 500 with revenues over $3.6 billion and earning the title of the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States.”
Of course the big story is the apparent competition for a Miami team. According to the Miami Herald, a London-based investment group led by Italian financier Alessandro Butini made its pitch for MLS-to-Miami official on Tuesday, partnering with the University of Miami School of Architecture to develop ideas for a viable soccer-specific stadium, and launching a website — MIA4MLS.com — to drum up fan interest. It has long been understood that Beckham has a contractual option to purchase a franchise at a discounted rate. Does this mean that option is near expiration or that Butini is potential Beckham partner? The move towards 24 teams will definitely provide fodder for MLS fans over the next couple of years.
Now on to trivia:
Who was the U.S. Open Cup Tournament trophy renamed in honor of in 1999?
The tournament has been around since 1914, almost as long as Lamar Hunt has been investing in professional soccer in the U.S. Likely nobody has spent so much money on soccer in the United States. Hunt, better known as the owner of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs (and the man who coined the term Super Bowl), owned the NASL’s Dallas Tornado, which was the league’s longest operating franchise in one city, lasting from 1967 until 1981. When Major League Soccer began its organizational phase, Hunt was there again, becoming the lead investor in teams in Columbus and Kansas City. He later bought into MLS’s team in Dallas and led the effort to build a soccer specific stadium for the Columbus Crew and F.C. Dallas. For all that effort, USSF put Hunt’s name on the trophy awarded to the winner of the U.S. Open Cup.
Excerpt from The First American Soccer Trivia Book by Jamie Clary; Copyright 2007 FreeFalling Graffiti. www.soccerprofessor.com