Following the conclusion of Inter Miami CF’s second season in Major League Soccer (MLS), Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson faced the media in the Club’s end-of-year press conference to reflect on the team’s 2021 campaign and look at what lies ahead in 2022.
Although the team was unable to achieve the desired level of success on the pitch, Henderson was pleased with the growth he observed throughout the year within the Club as an organization that will yield long-term success for Inter Miami.
“I’m really proud of what has happened behind the scenes. We all want success from the First Team, and the culture that has been put in place [is great]. A culture of ambition, values, excellence, and having everyone in the building live those values,” said Henderson. “We have added a great staff and that is important in the way we move forward... I feel like we now have processes that weren’t in place when I arrived and I think this is what’s going to give us the foundation for long-term sustained success.”
Henderson was also proud of the Club’s involvement in the community despite limited opportunities to do so because of the pandemic.
“One of the biggest things for me is how as a Club we can become a fabric of this community. We had some great initiatives, such as Kick Childhood Cancer that the players were involved in, the thank you to Baptist Health’s nurses and doctors that the whole team went to, the work with Patricio Ojeda, the cancer patient that came to the Club [and got to spend a special day with the players and coaching staff], the work that we’ll do on Thanksgiving, food drives, holiday events [and more]...I think those are things we need to do as a Club. It’s important to the Mas brothers and David Beckham that we make sure that we are important in the South Florida community.”
Additionally, he took the time to show his appreciation to Inter Miami’s loyal fanbase, whose unwavering support and special connection with the players was vital for the team throughout the entire campaign.
“Our fans are everything. The players come out and play and the atmosphere at our stadium is unlike any other in MLS,” stated Henderson. “That is why I want to make sure that we win here at home, because they come out, they support us through wins and losses, and I want to make sure that our players understand the importance of the connection with our fans going forward.”
Henderson then pivoted to discussing the 2022 campaign coming up, touching on the roster building process, developing young players and signing the right players for the team despite the sanctions that will be in effect next season.
“Phil [Neville] is fantastic with young players. With what we will be dealing with in the next two years that’s going to be very important… I think this will give us the opportunity moving forward together to have our fingerprints on this roster. It’s not there yet, but we are working on building a team of players who are committed to our values and the way that Phil and his staff want to play and what we want at this Club.”
“There are some challenges for sure, but with every challenge comes opportunity. Opportunity for a young player to step up, for another player who didn’t have a lot of minutes this year to make an impact in the roster, and that’s how you find good players. I think the focus on how we bring players in is really important and I feel very confident now in what we have in the front office through the coaching staff to help us minimize the risks on our signings,” he added.
Lastly, Henderson highlighted the importance that consistency will have in the team’s future success.
“Looking at this [upcoming] year, I think consistency would be something that we have to look at, and going forward we need to focus on consistency… We need to be a team that’s hard to beat, we need to grind for points at times and just focus on consistency,” he concluded.