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.