May 29, 2023
With the 28th season of Major League Soccer well under way - featuring the debut of the league's 29th franchise (St. Louis CITY SC) and the expansion announcement of its soon-to-be 30th (San Diego) - it's hard to believe that the entirety of MLS was on the verge of collapse after just its sixth campaign in 2001.
Instead of pulling the plug entirely in 2002, two clubs - the charter 1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny and expansion 1998 Miami Fusion - were sacrificed, leaving Florida bereft of top-level pro soccer for the first time in a generation, and a league fighting to stay afloat for at least another season.
We'll tackle the Mutiny story on a future show - but this week, it's all about the surprisingly important four-season life of the Fusion - a team that never played in its namesake hometown, but left an indelible mark in South Florida soccer history.
Joe Shaw, host of the new podcast series "25 for 25: The Story of the Miami Fusion From Those Who Lived It", joins along with former club captain/fan favorite Jim Rooney and team assistant coach John Trask for a taste of what it was like in those exciting, but still-uncertain early years MLS's existence.
If you remember the original NASL's Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, or fancy yourself a fan of today's Inter Miami CF - you will LOVE this conversation!