Commissioner Garber encouraged us to keep growing and, we will. It's only a matter of time before we get a Major League Soccer team! Notable attendees included Tom Mulroy, founder of the Copa Latina, and Miami FC/Striker and NASL President Aaron Davidson, who were invited by Don Garber.
The event began with Miami Ultras President and founder Pieter Brown thanking Commissioner Garber and the audience for showing up. He also introduced a fan made video. Special thanks to Miami Ultra Erick Perez for making it.
Here is the video:
After the video, yours truly Uncle Ed took the stage to state the case for bringing an MLS team to South Florida. I ended my presentation by pointing out the fact that MLS will only have a true national foothold with a team in the South, a neglected area by the league.
Miami Ultra Julio Caballero then proceeded to give Commissioner Garber a Miami Ultras scarf, which set the stage for a Q&A that proceeded.
During the Q&A, a fan claimed that reliable sources informed him that businessman Marcelo Claure, Simon Fuller and David Beckham were interested in a team in South Florida. Garber deviated the topic of conversation away from Claure and Beckham and began speaking about NYC2. He announced that MLS is committed to bringing NYC2 into the mix. Garber continued by stating that any investor that approaches MLS will be taken to the best possible city. He then said, "We're not going to lead the charge to bring a team here," meaning Miami. But isn't that what MLS is doing with NYC2? I wondered.
Some fans then started directing questions and statements to Aaron Davidson about our local team. They addressed reasons why many people do not know about the existence of Miami FC (soon to be called the Strikers). Davidson vaguely responded by saying, "I am not against a move to MLS," and he left it at that. Regrettably, I think the presence of Davidson was a distraction and a mistake by MLS. Clearly Garber allowed him to attend in order to avoid animosity and so that he didn't feel threatened. I'm in favor of a similar Q&A with Davidson, but this was not his platform. It's not his fault though. The fans should have kept directing their questions to Garber solely.
The new Strikers and Traffic, the owners of the team, have the opportunity to start from scratch and do what they didn't do with Miami FC. They now have the opportunity to properly promote the team! How can they fill up stadium seats if no one knows about the games? We still hear nothing from them: no one announced the launch of the Strikers, there has been no advertising, JUST NOTHING. Time is ticking and, if they truly want to build momentum, they need to start now!
But we must support them, for good or bad, because they are all we have. MLS will come! It's just a matter of time. Fans, get the word out, attend Strikers games, go to the WPS games (I'll write about that in another blog) and support soccer in South Florida!
Further videos and pictures of the meeting with Don Garber will come in the next few days.
Here's what the local media had to say:
El Nuevo Herald
Total Futbol Featuring GOL TV's Phil Shoen and his take on the truth behind the Miami Fusion demise (A good read for those haters out there that keep saying MLS in Miami failed).
For more pictures and info go to the Miami Ultras site