The Miami FC to join USL Championship beginning in 2020

US soccer club The Miami FC will play in the nation’s second-tier USL Championship next season after acquiring the franchise rights of Ottawa Fury, which recently suspended operations.

The Miami FC currently leads the professional men’s league, the National Independent Soccer Association, and the latest move towards the pinnacle of US soccer follows a long series of on-field successes for the club, including back-to-back championships in 2018-19 in the National Premier Soccer League.

The club will kick-off the new USL Championship in March at the 20,000-seat Riccardo Silva Stadium.

The promotion is also seen as a boost to the club’s recently created The Miami FC Youth Soccer Academy which aims  to grow soccer at the youth level in Miami. It also gives the city a team in each of the top three tiers of US club soccer.

“The decision to join USL gives us two key things,” said Paul Dalglish, The Miami FC’s president and general manager. “First, it gives us a stable platform to further expand our academy program and community work, meaning accessible, inclusive, and fun family events that bring all of Miami’s soccer communities together. Second, it means we’ll be playing 17 home games at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami, providing a fantastic experience for the army of loyal fans that have stood by us.”

Since the club’s formation in 2015, the club has also played in the North American Soccer League.

The USL Championship this year drew an organization-best attendance of nearly 3 million across its regular season and post-season. Five more expansion clubs are slated to join in the next three years.

In August 2017 The Miami FC and semi-professional club Kingston Stockade FC filed a claim at the Court of Arbitration for Sport calling on FIFA’s Article 9 on promotion and relegation to be implemented in US soccer.  The hearing took place in May 2018 and a final decision is still pending.

The Miami FC is owned by Silva International Investments, also the parent company of SportBusiness.