When Inter Miami CF takes the pitch in 2020, it won’t just be on Major League Soccer fields.
The MLS expansion club will also field a USL League One team next year. League One is the third tier of professional men’s soccer in the United States and will have 13 teams next season.
The USL League One side will bridge the gap between Inter Miami’s MLS team and academy, the club said Wednesday in a statement. The new team’s name, branding, schedule and ticket information will be released at a later date.
“We are proud to close this deal and join a competitive league where our youth players can compete against quality opponents,” Paul McDonough, the sporting director for Inter Miami CF, said in the statement. “USL League One will provide more opportunities for players from South Florida as well as elite international prospects.”
The MLS, USL League One and academy sides will all train at a 64-acre complex in Fort Lauderdale, which is currently being renovated to feature a 50,000-square-foot training facility with seven fields and an 18,000-capacity stadium. Both teams will play games at that stadium, which is scheduled to open in February, until the MLS team’s Miami Freedom Park stadium is constructed.
USL League One featured 10 teams this season, it’s first year competing in the newly-organized tier system. Above League One is the Championship, which features 36 teams, and below it is USL League Two, a development league with 72 teams made up of mostly college players.
In 2020, the Inter Miami CF side will be one of three additional teams joining League One. Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution will also field a team, along with a club in Nebraska, Union Omaha CF.
The other MLS sides who field teams in League One include Orlando City SC, Toronto FC and FC Dallas.
“We’re thrilled to have Inter Miami CF join League One,” USL senior vice president Steven Short said. “It’s exciting to watch our league as it continues to grow in both size and intensity and we’re already looking forward to our second year of competition. We know that this club will be a tremendous addition.”