Inter Miami CF has accomplished a lot in just a few short years of existence. As David Beckham, Jorge Mas and partners continue building the club into an MLS powerhouse, what is a realistic evaluation of Inter Miami‘s current global standing and prospects for 2023? This in-depth guide will analyze key factors impacting Miami‘s world ranking, competitive outlook, and growth opportunities on the horizon.
Who is Inter Miami CF?
Before diving into rankings and projections, let‘s start with some background on the ownership, vision and ethos of Inter Miami CF:
Founded in 2018 by former English soccer icon David Beckham and American businessman Jorge Mas.
Beckham exercised an MLS ownership option in his original playing contract with LA Galaxy.
Mas is a prominent Miami entrepreneur and developer.
Inter Miami joined MLS as the league‘s 25th team starting with the 2020 season.
The club‘s name reflects Miami‘s international and culturally diverse population.
Their crest features neon pink and black colors with herons, paying homage to the city.
Inter Miami plays home matches at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale until their permanent stadium is completed.
English manager Phil Neville was appointed head coach in 2021 after previously managing England‘s women‘s national team.
Co-owner Jorge Mas has emphasized Inter Miami‘s long-term vision to be an internationally recognized brand combining both excellence on the pitch and commercial growth.
With ambitious owners and a ripe market, Inter Miami aims to become both a leading MLS club and global soccer powerhouse over the next decade.
Current Rankings – Room to Rapidly Rise
According to FIFA‘s latest world rankings, Inter Miami CF comes in at #140 globally among men‘s clubs and national teams . This puts them just below Polish club Lech Poznań and ahead of storied teams including West Ham, Celtic, Rangers and Club Brugge.
Within MLS, Inter Miami‘s 2022 campaign concluded with a 6th place finish in the Eastern Conference at 14-14-6 (W-L-D) . Their 48 points earned qualified them for the playoffs, where they unfortunately lost in the first round to eventual champions NYCFC.
|2022 MLS Eastern Conference Final Standings|
|1. Philadelphia Union (67 pts)||6. Inter Miami CF (48 pts)|
|2. CF Montreal (65 pts)||7. Columbus Crew (46 pts)|
|3. NYCFC (62 pts)||8. Charlotte FC (43 pts)|
|4. New York Red Bulls (61 pts)||9. Atlanta United FC (43 pts)|
|5. FC Cincinnati (55 pts)||10. Chicago Fire FC (37 pts)|
While 140th worldwide indicates room for growth, Inter Miami‘s early progress as an expansion franchise remains impressive. With shrewd additions and a long-term building approach, their rankings should rapidly rise in the years ahead.
Building a Star-Studded Attack
Inter Miami has focused this past offseason on acquiring premier attacking talent to catalyze that growth. Most significantly, they signed Argentine superstar Lionel Messi in August 2022 on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain .
Messi joins fellow Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuaín in what is now an extremely potent frontline. Combined with the added creative sparks of 2021 MLS Newcomer of the Year Alejandro Pozuelo and returning speedster Robbie Robinson, Inter Miami has formed an attack capable of tearing through any MLS defense.
|Key Inter Miami CF Forwards||Goals in 2022 Regular Season|
|Gonzalo Higuaín||16 goals|
|Leonardo Campana||9 goals|
|Ariel Lassiter||8 goals|
This influx of elite attacking talent has Inter Miami poised to unlock their full offensive potential in 2023.
Ambitious Prospects for the 2023 Season
With weapons like Messi and Higuaín leading the line, Inter Miami has high hopes of besting their 2022 campaign. A few key factors that could determine their success this season:
Staying healthy – Inter Miami must keep key players fit and available, especially with a shallow roster behind the starting XI.
Winning early – Getting results in February and March will help new signings gel quicker into a cohesive unit.
Road form – Miami must improve upon their 2022 away record of 3-9-5 to realistically contend.
Defensive solidity – Conceding 49 goals last season, the backline must sharpen focus when possession is lost.
Good coaching – Manager Phil Neville will be tested to balance lineups, manage egos, and optimize tactics.
Beating the elite – Miami can‘t be intimidated by the Eastern Conference‘s best teams like Philadelphia and NYCFC.
With these factors aligning, a finish as high as 2nd or 3rd in their conference is possible. Come playoff time, Inter Miami‘s revamped attack could power them on a run to the MLS Cup final. The trophy seems within reach given their talent, but gelling quickly will be crucial with expectations heightened.
Messi‘s Arrival – Next Level Status for Club and League
Beyond just on-field results, the signing of Lionel Messi brings invaluable exposure, credibility and commercial growth opportunities.
For Inter Miami, Messi‘s presence vaults them into the upper echelon globally in terms of club stature. They are now a destination for elite players, with rumor of Barcelona teammates like Luis Suárez and Cesc Fàbregas possibly following Messi across the Atlantic. International sponsors will flock to partner with Inter Miami. Even more importantly, this could be the jolt of energy needed to finally get the long-awaited Miami Freedom Park stadium complex approved and constructed.
For MLS, Messi‘s move usher in a new era where the very best in the world are no longer out of reach. The likes of Mesut Özil, Gareth Bale, and Giorgio Chiellini have already followed Messi‘s lead to MLS, increasing both quality of play and global interest. After solidifying as a top North American league, MLS can now gain ground on top global leagues in terms of talent, viewership and revenue.
Make no mistake, Messi‘s signing is a paradigm shift that will shape Inter Miami and MLS for decades to come.
Building Towards the Future – Plans for Sustained Success
While all eyes are on their immediate success, Inter Miami‘s ownership has always maintained a long-term vision to cement them as a model MLS club both on and off the field. Efforts that will continue building their brand over the next 5-10 years:
State-of-the-art stadium – Construction continues on Miami Freedom Park, highlighted by a 25,000 seat stadium to open by 2025.
World-class academy – Their development program aspires to be among the best globally, fueled by partnerships with top academies in South America and Europe.
Ambitious commercial growth – Messi provides megastar power to drive sponsorships and branding opportunities across Miami and internationally.
Community engagement – Through their Soccer in the Streets initiative, Inter Miami aims to promote the sport and health across diverse local communities.
Commitment to excellence – Ownership has devoted major investment to facilities, staff, analytics and sports science befitting of an elite franchise.
With unprecedented growth in their early years, Inter Miami CF seems poised to continue climbing into the upper stratosphere of professional soccer.
The Outlook – Primed to Rapidly Ascend
While their 140th world ranking represents an eager upstart, Inter Miami CF is building momentum that should see them vault up the charts in short order. Their ownership group has the vision, the market, and most recently, the star talent necessary to become a global soccer power.
If Messi and fellow reinforcements can gel into a cohesive contender this season, a deep playoff run could prompt a rapid rise up the MLS standings. And with long-term plans like an awe-inspiring new stadium in the works, the Inter Miami brand itself could expand worldwide like never before.
It may just be only a matter of time before soccer enthusiasts are mentioning Inter Miami CF in the same breath as MLS standard-bearers like the Seattle Sounders and LAFC. The ascent towards the summit has already begun as a new era dawns in South Florida. What heights can Inter Miami reach in the years ahead? For neutrals and newcomers to the beautiful game, one thing is certain – it will be incredibly fun finding out!