Original article appeared on BrotherlyGame.com
In January, MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, visited the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (formerly Miami F.C.) while exploring potential markets for the league’s 20th club. Miami may have a second chance at success in the first division after the league removed the Miami Fusion in 2001. Despite the significant presence of the other major sports along the Miami skyline, the picture to the right defines how important soccer is to the culture in Miami.
While traveling to Miami during a recent business trip, I had the opportunity to visit several soccer facilities in the city. Friends and locals alike were helpful in locating where the game is played most often at a high-level. None of the facilities were difficult to find and are spread throughout the downtown area.
For a city without a first division professional team, it is difficult to comprehend how cities and regions with multiple professional teams have not already begun to foster the development and love for the game that facilities like this can provide. Despite the construction of additional soccer-specific stadiums in the United States, less than half of the current Major League Soccer clubs play within city limits of the city which they represent.
The owner and former manager of Soccer Rooftop is Pavel Pardo, who currently plays for Club America in the Mexican First Division. Previously, Pardo played for the Mexican National Team. I recently spoke with Teofilo “Coco” Cubillas, the current manager of Soccer Rooftop in Miami:
tBG: How and when did the idea for Soccer Rooftop begin?
Coco: The idea originally came from one of the investors. He’s Colombian and in Colombia they have these type of fields on rooftops so he wanted to bring that concept here to Miami.