Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas and Sporting Director Paul McDonough joined Luis Miguel Echegaray of Sports Illustrated's Planet Futbol for an in-studio interview to discuss all things Inter Miami ahead of the Priority Expansion Draft on Oct. 6.
On the subject of the Academy Mas said, “It’s been for us an element of pride, an area where we’re going to put a significant investment to the talent and youth that exists in South Florida.“ He continued, “I’m very hopeful that with Paul’s leadership and our coaching that we’re going to be able to have the best Academy system in the MLS to give these young men an opportunity to live out their dreams to be part of an MLS team, but also to open their opportunities to worldwide football if possible.”
“From a roster-building perspective, Paul and I have frequent flyer miles. We’ve been all over the world as we build a great roster,” added Mas. “Not only for great performance on the field, but to fit the style of Inter Miami. We want to be an aggressive offensive team. One that our community can be proud of. One that’s going to make a mark all over the world.”
He was also asked about Miami Freedom Park and what its timeline might look like.
“We’re in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with the City of Miami,” he said. “I’m hopeful the next 45 to 60 days we’ll have that as a go.”
“It’s located adjacent to Miami International Airport. 51 million people come in and out of that airport,” said Mas. “It’s the first thing they’ll see when they land in Miami and the last thing they see. So, they’re going to see a beautiful stadium and it’s going to put Miami on the global map for fútbol and soccer.”
Paul McDonough was asked about how the players signed by the club might shape its identity.
“We started with signing young players,” said McDonough. “Now we’ll add MLS experience to the group and we’re going to add some foreign international players to help bring these guys along and help us be successful from day one.”
“I think it’s important to have young, but I think in our market we need to have some older players that can handle the pressure much more than the young ones can right away,” he added. “We’re definitely going to have three DPs. We have been linked with a lot of players because of our ownership group and the city. David’s (Beckham) reach is enormous, so we’re linked to a lot of players. Some are true and some are not, but it has been truly amazing the interest and the players that have contacted us that want to come to Miami.”
Mas also touched on the club’s search for a coach and what the ownership group is looking for in potential candidates.
“I’m a huge believer that leadership matters,” he said. “We want a coach who can lead, who can not only lead the first team, but can set the tone in the academy system. [A coach] who can put his fingertips on developing young players for the future and really the whole organization.”
“I think we’re very close to naming someone who is going to be an outstanding coach for Inter Miami and really is going to help us raise the game in America,” said Mas. “But the profile of the coach we want is that person who has international standing, who has coached at the highest levels, who has played at the highest levels, who hopefully has played in a World Cup, played in Champions League, coached at that level, coached academy teams, and been able to bring young great players and develop them to be great professionals because that’s what we want. And also, from a personal aspect, that they’re going to fit in South Florida, that they’re going to be able to represent our team as we want, that they will be able to articulate our vision. We’re close and hopefully we will be announcing the coach in the next three or four weeks.”
Lastly, Mas spoke about what he expects for Inter Miami and what fans should know about the team and the local community.
“Well first it’s going to be a club that is going to win,” said Mas. “It’s going to be a club that’s going to compete for championships. It’s going to be a club that is going to have among its roster and its ranks some of the most talented players in the world.”
“We will be truly a global team. Miami is embraced by so many nationalities from so many backgrounds, it’s truly a melting pot and a cultural mosaic,” he added. “We’re going to be a reflection of our community.”