Miami Expansion Talks Heat Up

Major League Soccer could be on its way back to the city of Miami in the not-too-distant future, according to several reports.

League officials have "been in discussions with Miami City Mayor Manny Diaz to secure funding for a soccer stadium that would serve as home to an MLS expansion team," said Dan Courtemanche, senior vice president of marketing and communications.

Before any city can be awarded an expansion franchise, they must prove that they either have an existing soccer-specific facility or, at the very least, have a legitimate plan in place to build one. The site of the Orange Bowl seems to be a perfect fit for construction of such a stadium. A soccer-specific stadium would take up roughly 10 acres of the 40-acre Orange Bowl site, with plans being floated to also build a new baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins there.

The city once hosted an MLS franchise, Miami Fusion FC, from 1998-2001. Despite winning the Supporters Shield in '01, low attendance led the league to cease club operations at the end of that year. The team's average attendance of 11,177 in their final year was up nearly 50% from the year before (average attendance: 7,460), but could not spare them from contraction.

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