Creative Soccer Culture

Inter Miami's Supporters Group 'Vice City 1896' Talk New Club Vibes

Right now, Miami is perhaps the most exciting place in the United States without a playing MLS side. However, with David Beckham’s Inter Miami laying the foundations for a future club with big style, the people of the city have got right behind this potential powerhouse.

For fans of British football there's something intriguing about Americans following a team that has yet to play a game. The Brits would label a UK team plastic, franchise, mock its lack of history or question what its new-found fan-base have been up to every weekend before now. But MLS is different, a new club can galvanise a community and be seen as a beacon of togetherness and pride. That's what's going on and more in Miami right now.

With supporters groups already bringing the flair, we spoke to the guys behind one such collective, Vice City 1896, to get their take on what’s coming up, down on the East Coast.

So many supporters are getting behind Inter Miami before they’ve even built a stadium, let alone kicked a ball. What’s caught the imagination about a new team in Miami?

Given that most Miamians have been exposed to football one way or another, either having seen its popularity grow at a local level, especially in recent years throughout our Latin communities, or because they have been exposed to it as part of growing up abroad, where football is the number one sport, the truth is that Miami has been ready for a long time.

Tell us about the Vice City 1896 section of supporters. How did you bring them together and what are the core values there?

This didn’t just manifest in recent years, nor did it simply come to be since David Beckham announced a team in Miami. We would say the beginnings of this movement unfurled back in the 1990s when members of Vice City were shaping the Fusion’s Afusionados supporters group. Nothing has been forced in Vice City. Everyone here has shown up, rolled up their sleeves and put in the work. We’re all convinced of how we feel about Miami and football. And at the core of our vision, what’s most important to us, are our children. We’re building this for them. Our fathers, mothers and relatives gave us these opportunities growing up in our respective countries of origin. We want to do the same for them.


There seems to be something special about MLS: when a team emerges, fans get right into it before anything on the pitch even happens. Why is that?

People in the US have been consuming European and South American football for years. It was merely a matter of time. It’s really not about any one particular community or race. Everyone in the country is showing up to MLS games. Americans take pride in their cities and their athletic clubs allow them to express that even more so.

Just how passionate are people about Inter Miami?

Extremely! You have to take into account that Miami hasn’t had an MLS team in nearly two decades. In fact, it’s been painful to see other cities in the US get their own teams; Miami has been waiting for the opportunity for what seems to have been an eternity.

Culturally speaking, what is it about the city as a location that can bring something fresh to football?

Miami is a dynamic and captivating city. With all its beautiful beaches, nightlife and entertainment, it is postcard-perfect, so to speak, but the city also has another side – a darker, grittier, off-record side that a lot people don’t see. The streets of Miami are raw and unapologetically unique. This city has given rise to some of the best known street- and graffiti artists on the East Coast, and in the entire country for that matter. It’s no coincidence that Miami has played host to one of the biggest art fairs in the world since 2002 – Art Basel. The conversation between art, culture and football is very real in South Florida. There is a lot brewing down here. Just wait and see what we have in store. We can’t wait to share it with the world.


Using the work done by LAFC as an example of a club that has built their culture first, do you think Inter Miami will find a similar identity, which people from all sides of the globe will share?

The close of the last MLS season was well marked by Vice City members who visited LA and connected with District 9 Ultras. We have nothing but utmost respect for all supporters groups of 3252. We’ve been in discussions about our place and voice as these things pertain to the MLS supporters conversation. We believe that what 3252 has done for MLS is shed light on how we live and breathe football all over the Americas. We’d like to contribute to that movement and overall statement. Miami is filled with different football-loving communities that speak the same passionate language. We will bring something very special to MLS.

What do the fan gatherings consist of? How many people are involved and are more people wanting to get involved all the time?

We’ve been meeting at a special venue we all call home, Stadio Soccer. It’s an indoor football place with a resting area and barbecue setup. It’s perfect because it’s right under highway I-95. Rain or shine we’re always there. We started by bringing together our children – The Vice City Rascals. Many of our core members have children around the same age, so Saturday mornings became an excuse [to meet up] and the perfect way to give our wives a break. As we began to organise our different meetings, we realised we could tackle many of these important tasks on Saturdays. We now have four or five teams show up to play as well. When we’re done, we invite everyone to a barbecue. We show off our hand-painted tifos and flags to anyone who comes out. Meanwhile, we practice with the band, and chant and sing away the rest of the time. We have now grown to over 80 core members and have fluctuated higher at bigger gatherings and events. Every time we meet, we gain new followers and are pleased to see people buying our merch.

As you say, you’ve already brought merch to the table – have you seen people really get into that?

Man, people are hungry for it. We believe it’s our combination of a signature aesthetic and what we stand for that has made people love our goods. You know, as we continue to grow, one thing has stayed true: we’re not doing any of this to impress anyone; we’re doing this for ourselves. It’s been great defining our “look” as it’s based on our music and cultural interests. We’re just getting started. Our merch is fire, not gonna lie.

There’s no doubt that this is a serious and professional club where elite athletes will come to play. Have you already seen the power of David Beckham have an effect in Miami?

No doubt! The city is buzzing. We hear it at the barber shops, at the corner bodegas, and on the fields. There is much talk and speculation around European and South American players’ ages, their contract deadlines, their styles, and matching certain players and positions from different teams. We’ve been obsessing over who will be our manager. Will it be Carlos Bianchi? Marcelo Bielsa? Or imagine Zinedine Zidane! We’re losing our minds over here!


There’s always a tifo of David Beckham at your gatherings – are you grateful for what he’s bringing to the city?

Definitely, but it’s not just him. The ownership group handling the day-to-day in Miami has been working hard, burning the midnight oil. The group is not only comprised of savvy businessmen, but also simply good people. We believe in all of them. We’re not just saying that. We’ve spent plenty of time with them, including David. We’ve heard the intimate conversations and feel their passion for this team. We share a vision.

As a supporters group, what have been the milestones so far and what are you most proud of when it comes to the work you’ve done in building that fan base?

Our first event, raising funds for a dear friend’s daughter named Zoe – that was a catalyst for us. We realised that we have an opportunity, not only to be a supporters group for our team, but to give back to our communities in need. We challenge everyone that is coming forward to value what we stand for. I think deep down inside people believe in what we stand for, and trust where we are headed. We’re very proud of our work thus far. There is so much promise on the horizon and we can’t wait to build, to give back to our city.

As a supporter, what would you like Inter Miami to stand for?

Everything that Miami stands for: diversity, inclusiveness, passion, tenacity.

What do you think it’s going to feel like when you head into the stadium for the first time on a matchday? How big will the party be that day?

You could say we’ve shared many sleepless nights doing our best to define that moment. We’re not leaving any details out. It will be a week-long event for us next year. We will usher our team in and leave our name up high that day, for our city. Miami is and will be 1896.


Read the full Vice City 1986 feature in SoccerBible Magazine Issue 12, which you can get here.

Photography by Jenny Abrams and Sebastian Saldarriaga for SoccerBible.


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