Miami FC bolts NISA before full launch to join USL Championship

In a stunning move, Miami FC joined the USL Championship for the 2020 season less than four months after it entered National Independent Soccer Association.

Miami had won the 2018 and 2019 NPSL titles after it left the North American Soccer League, where it played its last two seasons before its collapse, winning both halves in the 2017 regular season,

That puts Miami FC in four different leagues in less than two years.

The latest move followed the sale of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group's USL franchise rights to Miami FC. The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group suspended operations of the Ottawa Fury in November after six seasons in the NASL and USL. The stumbling block was the failure to secure sanctioning to participate as a Canadian team in the USL Championship in 2020.

Miami FC will play all its USL Championship home matches at FIU's Riccardo Silva Stadium, named after its owner.

Paul Dalglish, who was promoted to team president and general manager after he led Miami FC to the NISA fall conference title, explained the move to the USL Championship:

“The decision to join USL gives us two key things. First, it gives us a stable platform to further expand our academy program and community work, meaning accessible, inclusive fun-filled family events that bring together Miami’s soccer community.

“Second, it means we’ll be playing 17 homes games at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami, providing a fantastic experience for the army of loyal fans that have stood by us. We can’t wait to get started and begin the campaign to add to our trophy haul.”

In 2017, Miami FC and NPSL club Kingston Stockade FC filed a claim with the Court of Arbitration on Sport to require U.S. Soccer to adopt promotion and relegation within its leagues, per FIFA's Article 9. A decision has yet to be made public.

Miami FC's move come the same day as NISA announced four teams had been approved as pro teams for 2020 -- Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, the Michigan Stars and Oakland Roots.

Miami FC's defection leaves NISA with eight teams for the 2020 spring season for which it received provisional sanctioning from U.S. Soccer.

Miami FC timeline (2018-19)
Jan. 8, 2018. The North American Soccer League in which Miami FC plays pushes the start of the 2018 season back to Aug. 11, opting for a fall-spring calendar.
Jan. 31, 2018. Miami FC 2 enters the National Premier Soccer League for the 2018 season.
Feb. 27, 2018. The NASL cancels the 2018 season.
Aug. 4, 2018
. Miami FC 2 defeats FC Motown, 3–1, to win the NPSL championship.
Nov. 15, 2018.
Miami FC enters NPSL Founders Cup, slated to be played August-November 2019, followed by a full league schedule in 2020.
Dec. 6, 2018. Miami FC launches a youth academy at Tamiami Park.
Aug. 3, 2019. Miami FC defeats the New York Cosmos, 3–1, to win the NPSL championship.
Aug. 19, 2019. Miami FC enters National Independent Soccer Association for its launch in September.
Nov. 9, 2019.  Miami FC defeats Stumptown Athletic, 4-0, to win the NISA Eastern Conference championship.
Dec. 11, 2019. Miami FC enters the USL Championship for its 2020 season.

11 comments about "Miami FC bolts NISA before full launch to join USL Championship".
  1. Wallace Wade, December 12, 2019 at 8:41 a.m.

    The timeline suggests that this is a sketchy and very unprofessional organization. They basically just joined the same League that will eventually put them out of business 

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, December 12, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    Actually it implies the opposite to me when viewed in context.

  3. R2 Dad, December 12, 2019 at 12:30 p.m.

    USL Championship doesn't allow Canadian teams, but MLS does? I guess it's too much to ask for some consistency among these leagues. That's a USSF / CSA isssue. Why am I not surprised with the wonkiness when Carlos is involved? Four leagues in two years? This is like Tinder for club owners.

  4. Paul Berry replied, December 12, 2019 at 7:03 p.m.

    It was a CONCACAF decision.  CSA was ok with Fury competing in USL.

  5. R2 Dad replied, December 13, 2019 at 12:04 p.m.

    It seems like blaming it on CONCACAF is only part of the story. If USSF/MLS wanted it so, CONCACAF would have complied. This is more about protecting the MLS business model.

  6. Wallace Wade, December 12, 2019 at 12:43 p.m.

    I'll stick to my statement from personal experience dealing directly with this Club

  7. Peter Bechtold, December 12, 2019 at 3:55 p.m.

    For my information: What is the relationship between FC Miami and FC Inter Miami ?

  8. humble 1, December 13, 2019 at 11:36 a.m.

    Good news. Hat's off to Miami FC.  I think this is a smart move.  This team needs competive games, they want to play as many at home as possible.  The chance comes up to get a spot in USL Championship, probably at a discount, for whatever reason, which they can afford.  The will start an academy now and be able to show a path the USL Championship rather then fledgling NISA.  Why the heck not do this?  I followed Madison Forward through their inagural season in USL League 1 with something like 10 teams all over the USA.  The travel was not easy on the club.  Miami/FTL was something of a desert for soccer, now they will have USL Championship and MLS.  Something to look forward to next time I visit.  Good luck to Miami FC!

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, December 13, 2019 at 5:29 p.m.

    If the ultimate goal is MLS, then stepping up to Div. 2 is a no-brainer.

    I wonder if the people who want promotion/regulation are also the people criticizing this move.

  10. Goal Goal, December 13, 2019 at 12:30 p.m.

    The Club is going to do what they think is best for them in the long term.  Simple!

  11. R2 Dad replied, December 13, 2019 at 5:46 p.m.

    I would prefer the club change leagues based on sporting merit rather than "the owner has an itch that needs scratching".

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