supports last-minute effort to land national soccer headquarters
County and the City of Homestead are trying to entice a national soccer
group to use the city's empty sports complex as its training center.
Chicago-based US Soccer Federation is seeking proposals from cities
that can offer a professional training complex. The center would bring
an economic impact of about $25 million from job creation and ancillary
spending, soccer officials said.
federation is the governing body for 24 men's and women's soccer teams,
which includes 12 Major League and 12 National League teams, group
officials think Homestead has a good shot at attracting the soccer
group because the sports complex, though designed for baseball, already
exists and meets several requirements of the US Soccer Federation.
Other cities could need time and money to find land and build a structure.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Jimmy Morales said cities such as Fort Lauderdale,
Orlando, Tampa and Los Angeles already have bids in to host the training
one in Miami picked up on this," Mr. Morales said. "Wherever
this is built, it will become the soccer capital of the U.S."
has asked county officials to help Homestead muster local backing
for the bid.
you get a group of people together to act as a civic component for
County Manager Merrett Stierheim, said he would get support from organizations
such as the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Beacon
Council, but he wondered if Homestead officials could complete a proposal
by the soccer group's Sept. 30 deadline.
Homestead officials can submit their bid in time and it is accepted,
the city would have to front $10 million to retrofit the complex,
according to Alicia Schreiber, Homestead's assistant city manager.
is serious," Mr. Stierheim said. "They've got their act
together and are ready to put their money where their mouth is. Does
Homestead have a funding strategy?"
Schreiber said Homestead was working on a financing plan for retrofitting
the stadium. Mr. Stierheim said her response was "not good enough."
asked Kimley Horne and Arquitectonica to be consultants" to help
Homestead officials complete the application, Ms. Schreiber said.
consultant's fee would be $60,000, she said, and Homestead will ask
the county to pay $15,000 of that.
City of Homestead pays $450,000 to $500,000 a year to maintain it,"
Ms. Schreiber said of the current facility.
soccer federation would want six natural and one artificial grass
fields with lights and shelters, a central building, locker rooms,
training rooms, player lounge, residential hall for 240 people and
a 7,000-seat stadium, according to Jim Moorhouse, director of communications
for the US Soccer Federation.
Sports Complex currently has a 6,500-seat baseball stadium with the
option to expand to 9,000, according to city documents. There is a
baseball practice field with 1,000 bleachers and four natural grass
complex also has a practice infield, an observation tower and parking
for 3,950. Home and visitor clubhouses have a total of 124 lockers
and a training clubhouse has 175 more. A one-story dormitory can accommodate
198 persons with bedrooms, kitchens, lounge areas and restrooms.
Moorhouse said some requirements for the proposed soccer training
center are flexible.
specifics may change as bids come in," Mr. Moorhouse said. "Climate
helps but it's not a prerequisite for this at all. It comes down to
in 1991 as the spring-training site for the Cleveland Indians, the
$22 million, debt-free complex has never had a full-time tenant, according
to Ms. Schreiber. The Indians reneged on their contract after Hurricane
Andrew tore through South Dade in 1992, even though the city rebuilt
the complex in 1993.
officials have tried unsuccessfully to lure other baseball teams.
Contenders have complained that the location and distance from other
spring training sites was a drawback.
Morales last week told the County Commission that he found out in
late August about the soccer federation's search for a training site.
soccer group now uses a facility owned by the Olympic Training Committee
in San Diego for training. In Florida, the organization also has a
temporary training site in Sanford that is not being used this year,
Mr. Moorhouse said.
of Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton, who also serves on the Miami
Sports & Exhibition Authority which governs city-owned athletic
complexes like the arena, said he didn't know the soccer federation
was in the market for a site until told by a reporter.
seems like a great thing to me," he said. "It just doesn't
seem like much time to work with."
Finnie, president of the Empowerment Zone Trust for the county, who
is also working on the application for the soccer training site, said
the county should at least make the effort.
think we should be penalized for not trying," he said, "than
for giving up too early."