MIAMI — Just hours after Inter Miami CF's third-ever practice as an MLS franchise, Diego Alonso was officially presented as the expansion club’s first head coach alongside Managing Owner Jorge Mas and Sporting Director Paul McDonough. Despite the club's young status, it did not take long for the trio to drive home their ambitions for this long-awaited team in the Magic City.
“True dreamers never simply meet their dreams, they surpass them,” Alonso said as he described his coaching philosophy with the downtown Miami skyline as his backdrop.
“I am from Uruguay. I have been raised to always fight for what I want," he continued. "Growing up, I was always told that countries like Brazil and Argentina were superior and that as Uruguayans, we could not beat them. But if you notice, I believe Brazil has nine Copa América titles, Argentina has 14 of them and Uruguay has 15 Copa América titles. So that is the mentality I identify with.”
Alonso arrives at Miami as the only coach to have won the Concacaf Champions League with two different clubs, having done so with Liga MX clubs Pachuca (2016/17) and Monterrey (2018/19).
The combination of Alonso's ambitions and pedigree clearly appealed to both Mas and McDonough, who made it known they want to do far more than just compete in MLS, even in Year One.
“Our aspirations are to win. We want to play in October and November," Mas said.
McDonough, who previously held a similar role at Atlanta United where he oversaw one of the most successful expansion clubs in MLS history, outlined even loftier ambitions.
“Concacaf Champions League is something we want to strive to win," he said. "I came from a fairly successful club. I saw Diego compete against Atlanta United. I saw what he did and how successful he was.”
The early indications are that Miami will aim to achieve that success in a crowd-pleasing style.
Throughout his time in Liga MX, Alonso developed a reputation as a forward-thinking coach. This reputation was reinforced when the former striker was asked what fans could expect stylistically on the pitch.
“Our team must impose an idea of play and not react to one," he said.
The manager’s comments fall in line with what midfielder Victor Ulloa has already noticed from the few preseason practice sessions that the club has had.
“From what I can tell, he likes to keep the ball, Ulloa said. "He likes to control the ball a lot. He wants us to dominate teams and he wants to attack a lot and he wants us to score goals.”
This passion the Inter Miami coach displayed in front of the media on Wednesday has also made a strong impression on his players.
“You see his energy and passion for the game. He has made it very clear to us that hates losing and he loves winning," the former FC Dallas and FC Cincinnati player replied. "You’ve seen his resume. Hopefully, he brings that here to Miami and we win a lot of things here.”
Mas has been similarly impressed by the coach’s character.
“We share a lot of the same value and we share the same vision to make Inter Miami MLS’s global team.”
Inter Miami will continue preseason training sessions at Barry University until the end of the week before the club’s first friendly on Feb. 7 against the Charleston Battery.