Miami Lakes

Town votes to keep contract with Miami Lakes United Soccer Club

rkoltun@elnuevoherald.com

Soccer will still be taught the Miami Lakes way after the Town Council rejected an offer from an international soccer development company that would have paid the town more than 10 times what the current club would pay them this year.

The council voted 6-1 Tuesday against Soccer Development Group’s unsolicited proposal to teach soccer in the town and instead opted to keep in place the Miami Lakes United Soccer Club (MLUSC).

Soccer Development had proposed paying Miami Lakes $53,000 a year to use and maintain Royal Oaks Park, 16500 NW 87th Ave. By contrast, Miami Lakes United Soccer Club has paid $5,000 a year to use the park for the past 10 years.

“I will not pull the rug out from Miami Lakes soccer,” Miami Lakes Mayor Mike Pizzi said during the council meeting. “We voted not to put it out to bid.”

Miami Lakes has an annual contract with the soccer club.

Frank Mingo, the lone opposing vote, wanted to open the soccer company’s unsolicited bid. Mingo said he wanted to see what options existed.

“We are giving the soccer contract to existing people without opening it up to a bid,” Mingo said. “It seems that’s been done in the past.”

Before the town’s contract with MLUSC expired, Town Manager Alex Rey received the bid and brought it to the Town Council.

SDG hires locals but also brings in coaches and trainers from Argentina. The club is the U.S. franchise of the Argentine soccer club, Boca Juniors.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to the local kids soccer program and did not cave in to special interests,” Pizzi said.

Other business

▪ School overcrowding: The Town Council passed a resolution meant to restrict enrollment in Miami Lakes schools to students from the town.

Through the resolution, which was passed unanimously, the Council requested that the Miami-Dade County School Board “take all actions necessary” to prevent overcrowding at Bob Graham Education Center and stop bringing in new kids, specifically from the area west of I-75.

Pizzi said later that students from areas outside of Miami Lakes should be sent to their respective schools, not the schools in Miami Lakes.

Bob Graham Education Center, which is a K-8 center, is “most affected,” by the influx of students, said Pizzi, who first brought the resolution to the council in December. This time, the council voted on the measure as part of the consent agenda.

An official from Bob Graham Education Center was unavailable for comment.

They said It

“I have to agree that not everything is about money. I’m gonna reject the bid; I’m gonna stick with the soccer club.” — Cesar Mestre, councilmember

You said It

People on the commisision spoke to me, not as members of the commission but as neighbors. They want a 50+1 runoff election; they want a clear majority for the electors to have their leaders. — Dr. David Bennett, chairman of the Town’s charter commission

The next meeting

▪ When: April 5

▪ Where: Miami Lakes Town Hall, 6601 Main St., Miami Lakes, FL 33014

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