Inter Miami CF Stadium will host a first soccer game this weekend — but it won’t be Inter Miami playing.
Fort Lauderdale CF — the club’s USL League One team — will kick off its inaugural season against the Greenville Triumph SC at 8 p.m. Saturday, making the matchup the first professional soccer game at the team’s new stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
The team will play its home games behind closed doors at Inter Miami CF Stadium and all of the league’s games will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Fort Lauderdale CF will feature 12 Inter Miami CF Academy players after their first season is over and has 14 players on professional contracts, including Major League Soccer veteran midfielder Servando Carrasco.
Carrasco, 31, has played for five different MLS clubs across nine seasons, most recently making 16 regular-season appearances for the LA Galaxy last year. He’s played in a total of 161 regular-season MLS games for the Seattle Sounders FC, Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City SC and the Galaxy from 2011-19.
“When I was a freshman in college and then a rookie, I always looked up to the guys that led by example,” Carrasco said in a video interview released by the team. “If I want to really get the best out of my teammates, I have to set that example first. It’s not just about what you say — it’s about what you do.”
Former Inter Miami CF Academy players Ian Fray and Francisco Raggio signed with Fort Lauderdale CF for the season, becoming the first academy players to advance through the club’s development system.
“It feels really good to be a part of a club where we have a bunch of great owners,” Fray said. “My expectation for the team is to win a lot of games, develop players as we go and just keep moving people up.”
Former MLS player and coach Jason Kreis is the team’s head coach. Kreis is also the U.S. men’s national under-23 soccer team’s head coach, so the club’s director of player development Darren Powell will coach the team when Kreis is on national team duty.
Here are the 14 players who signed professional contracts with Fort Lauderdale CF’s roster: Midfielder Servando Carrasco, goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira, midfielder Blaine Ferri, defender Ian Fray, goalkeeper Daniel Gagliardi, defender Sami Guediri, midfielder Rivaldo Ibarra, forward Ricky Lopez-Espin, defender Modesto Mendez, defender Frank Nodarse, midfielder Francisco Raggio, defender Brian Rosales, midfielder Eduardo Sosa and defender Christian Lue Young.
Plus, the 12 academy players who’ll join the team when their season is over: Forward Edison Azcona, forward Jason Bucknor, forward Andres Cardenas, defender Allan Cuartas, midfielder Cesar Cuellar, defender Ethan Hardin, forward Dairon Reyes, midfielder Joshua Saavedra, forward Dylan Talero, defender Kai Thomas, forward Felipe Valencia and goalkeeper Andre Zuluaga.
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