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This indoor facility was the heart of Miami’s soccer community. Now it’s closed

Michael Athea has been a pillar of the indoor soccer community in Miami.

Since 2007, as the owner of the first indoor soccer field in the city, Midtown Stadium Indoor Soccer, he has catered to locals of all ages to spread his love of the sport. Later, he found a facility north of Wynwood and opened Urban Indoor Futbol.

“Before then, I was playing soccer outside, at the beach…that’s why I decided to open the first indoor soccer facility in Miami,” he said. Athea said that it quickly became the hub for everything indoor soccer-related in Miami: “From kids, to older people, to leagues, to soccer club training who needed fields.”

But because of rising costs, Athea had to shutter his beloved soccer facility, leaving local soccer lovers bereft.

The visit that started it all. From left to right: Souley Diawara, Ibou Tall, Sylvain K, Mamadou Niang, Pascal Chimbonda with Michael Athea at Midtown Stadium in June 2007.
The visit that started it all. From left to right: Souley Diawara, Ibou Tall, Sylvain K, Mamadou Niang, Pascal Chimbonda with Michael Athea at Midtown Stadium in June 2007.

He closed down this year due to an increase in property taxes, insurance, and mounting infrastructure issues. The combined cost of these factors made it economically unfeasible to continue.

“It was not closing a business, it was closing my heart. I didn’t want to close. I didn’t want to close. I did everything to avoid this..”

From left to right: José Varela, Laurent Scimeca, Mr. Scimena and Michael Athea during the construction of Midtown Stadium.
From left to right: José Varela, Laurent Scimeca, Mr. Scimena and Michael Athea during the construction of Midtown Stadium.

The closure had a significant impact on the community. “A lot of kids came to my place, especially in the summertime,” Athea said. “All those soccer academies, birthday parties, and big events. We were the soccer community.”

Mike is not giving up and with the community’s support, he is currently scouting for a new home. His passion for soccer is pushing him to provide a haven for those who love the sport.

“It was not just a soccer place, it was not a business, it was a family and it is still a family”

Kids pick up game at Urban Indoor Futbol in Miami.
Kids pick up game at Urban Indoor Futbol in Miami.

He receives calls and messages every day. “All the support helps me a lot. Parents are calling, saying, ‘Mike, we need you. It’s not the same.’ I knew all my players by name. We had more than 3,000 players and 2,000 kids, from the little ones to the kids.”

Michael “Mike” Athea, the founder of Urban Indoor Football, sits in the common area of Wynwood Society on Tuesday, May 4, 2024, in Miami, Florida. He is still campaigning to find a location for his soccer club and training facility.
Michael “Mike” Athea, the founder of Urban Indoor Football, sits in the common area of Wynwood Society on Tuesday, May 4, 2024, in Miami, Florida. He is still campaigning to find a location for his soccer club and training facility.

Mike wants his supporters to know he is still here, diligently working every day to reopen and find the right location. His goal is to continue serving the Miami community. “I need to find a fair place,” he explains.

“Lately, rent increases in Miami have become completely insane. I need to find the right place. This is not going to be a business, this is going to be an expanded family. I will not give up. I will do it for you, us, and the soccer community.”