Miami FC has undertaken a major overhaul of its squad as it looks to reach the USL Championship Playoffs in the club's second season in the league.
Expectations were high for Miami FC as it joined the Championship for the 2020 season, but the newcomers were unable to match up with the Tampa Bay Rowdies or Charleston Battery in Group H consistently, which meant the side dropped well off the playoff pace before the end of the season.
So, what’s a side with a big budget and desire to be a title contender to do? Assemble a collection of new faces that could have Miami rubbing shoulders with the Championship’s elite by the end of the season, is what. The offseason signings of free agents Paco Craig and Speedy Williams – both two-time USL Championship Final winners at Louisville City FC – as well as the arrival of former Italy international Luca Antonelli and the transfer of Bolu Akinyode from Birmingham Legion FC were among the eye-opening new arrivals at Riccardo Silva Stadium this winter.
Head Coach Paul Dalglish will look to mold the new pieces into a cohesive unit, but there should be plenty of flash and style on display with players like Christiano Francois, another newcomer, as well as a return trip for his second stint at the club for Ariel Martinez. The expectations are going to be high, once again. This time, Miami is going to want to deliver.
Speedy Williams, Midfielder: 2020 Championship All-League First Team at Louisville
Paco Craig, Defender:Three-time Championship All-League selection at Louisville
Luca Antonelli, Defender: Former AC Milan and Italy international
Christiano Francois, Forward: Haitian international helped Reno to regular season title in 2020
Sebastian Velasquez: Signed with Bnei Sakhnin of the Israeli Premier League
Romario Williams: Signed with Al Ittihad Alexandria Club in Egypt
Prince Saydee: Signed with Phoenix Rising FC
2020 Champioship All-League selection Speedy Williams is one of Miami FC's major new additions for the upcoming season, with the Jamaican international arriving from Louisville City FC | Photo courtesy Miami FC
Speedy Williams, Midfielder
Speedy Williams has been successful consistently in the Championship, but his 2020 season might have been his best all-around season individually as he proved the catalyst in the center of Louisville City FC’s midfield. The Jamaican international arrives in Miami with expectations of a similar level of performance, and with the goal to aim for of selection for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup in his sights, Williams should be at the top of his game once again.
Christiano Francois, Forward
If you’re looking for a player who could become an immediate fan favorite in Miami, look no further than Haitian international Christiano Francois. A dynamic winger, Francois has recorded 19 goals and 24 assists over the past four seasons in 88 regular season contests, including a stellar campaign with six goals and seven assists for Reno 1868 FC in 2020. Joining an attack that appears set to be built for speed with Adonijah Reid and Billy Forbes also in tow, Francois could be the main attraction for Miami’s new-look attack.
Paul Dalglish returned to the sideline midway through the 2020 USL Championship campaign for Miami FC, having previously achieved success with the club prior to its arrival in the league.
Paul Dalglish (2nd Season)
Appointed the club’s General Manager before the 2020 season having previously served as Head Coach, Paul Dalglish returned to the sidelines after Miami struggled out of the gate in the Championship a season ago. A two-time MLS Cup winner with the Houston Dynamo – and son of soccer royalty in legendary Celtic, Liverpool and Scotland player Sir Kenny Dalglish – Dalglish brought success to Miami prior to its arrival in the Championship and will be hoping 2020’s late uptick in results is a good omen for the new season.
-5.22 According to American Soccer Analysis, Miami FC finished with the ninth-best Expected Goals total in the Championship in the 2020 season at 25.22, but the side only recorded 20 goals, which was a key reason for its struggles. Raising the side’s conversion rate in front of goals – which sat at a below-average 13.99 percent in 2020 – is going to be essential to the club’s success this year.