I've spent the past few weeks traveling around Florida and interviewing NASL soccer fans. There is a common thread among everyone I interviewed that stood out the most to me. Nearly every fan I interviewed thinks Florida is an untapped soccer market and is a prime location for an NASL expansion team.
The first fan I encountered, D.P Ash from Orlando, took a moment to share his thoughts with me. "It is just ridiculous that they are wanting to expand into California and Chicago. Florida really would be the best place to start a new NASL soccer team." he stated. "When I look across the nation, Florida really stands out as an untapped soccer market." Mr. Ash was nearly coming to tears sharing his opinions with me. We both hugged and he went on about his way. As he was walking away, I noticed he had a giant tattoo of Freddy Adu across his entire back. That my friends is a true fan of the sport.
As I continued my travels across Florida, I saw so many indicators that this area of the country was desperate to have an NASL pro team of their own. One homeless looking man was holding up a sign saying "Please help, need NASL team". The gentlemen, who only wanted to be known as P. Mendes, kindly asked me for some money to help his goal of getting an NASL team.
I've seen fans lobby for teams in their state many different ways in the past, but never by holding up a sign at an intersection while sitting in an old shopping cart. We exchanged opinions for a bit, but he was rather hard to follow with the way he was rambling about. Clearly, a man who has been overcome emotionally by the lack of professional soccer in Florida.
As you can see, Florida soccer fans are in desperate need for a professional NASL team to fill their current sports gap. This area seems like an ideal location for the Atlanta Silverbacks or San Antonio Scorpions to move to. In fact, there is probably enough room and demand in Florida for both of them to move into the state.
The data also supports the demand. After collecting & analyzing a years worth of social media data, it seems like an area between Miami and Fort Lauderdale would be the preferred location for the team. Fans indicated they had interest in the following names for the new team:
North Miami FC
Fleet of Warships
Noisy & Disorderlies
As I was driving home from Florida, I saw Mr. Mendes jumping up and down running towards the shore with an inflatable raft while rambling incoherently something about Puerto Rico. I hope the best for Mr. Mendes wherever he may be. He's the kind of guy I think that most people would want to just create an NASL team for after talking to him.