“The people love their team and are full of hope. They’ve had a foretaste with the U-20 World Cup and now they want to reach the most important tournament of all. People stop me in the street and always say, ‘Come on, we can make it to the World Cup,’ ’’ said Almeida.
More Miami Soccer
RSE Ventures, the sports and entertainment company founded by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, announced last week the launch of a new soccer division. The new venture could lead to more international matches at Sun Life Stadium. Soccer industry veterans Charlie Stillitano and Jon Sherman were hired to lead the effort.
A total of 200,000 fans attended four matches at Sun Life in the past year, the biggest crowd (70,080) for Barcelona vs. Chivas Guadalajara.
“Big-time matches do very well down there because of the very diverse ethnic population,’’ Stillitano said.
“The best of the South American talent is in Europe, so the top European clubs are a big draw in Miami. People there want to see the best of the best in their sport, and Sun Life is a great stadium. To a man, the AC Milan players who played Chelsea there said it was the best field they ever played on. They were rubbing it because they couldn’t believe it was real grass.’’
On the radio
Sirius XM started an all-soccer station (channel 94) called Sirius XM FC, which features soccer talk and play-by-play 24 hours a day. Premier League, Champions League and Major League Soccer matches will be broadcast. John Harkes, Ray Hudson and Tony Meola are among the hosts.
ESPN Deportes is running a series called Capitales del Futbol, exploring the world’s most passionate soccer cities. Barcelona was featured last week. Upcoming episodes are on Mexico City (Oct. 23), Manchester, England (Nov. 6), Sao Paulo, Brazil (Nov. 20), and Bogota, Colombia (Dec. 4). The show airs at 7:30 p.m.