This weekend’s Magic City Cup will combine the best of Miami tech, soccer and music

What happens when the worlds of sports and technology collide? Soon we’ll find out – and all with a multicultural Miami twist.

The Magic City Cup will bring together the fiercest soccer players from around the city from July 30th to August 1st at Space Park in Little Haiti. The main event is a soccer tournament where Miamians represent their home countries and play for two $10,000 prizes, one for the women’s team and one for the men’s. There will also be musical performances throughout the weekend, featuring artists from genres as varied as Reggaeton and Afropop.

Alongside the soccer and music will be a series of tech-related events. On July 31st, a panel of SportsTech innovators will discuss the major innovations fueling athletes and professional sports organizations in the 21st century. This conversation will bring together Miami Mayor Francis Suarez; Matthew Jafarian, EVP of Business Strategy at the Miami Heat; Kim Rometo, CIO of the Miami Dolphins; and professional football player-turned technologist Nolan Caroll.

Mayor Suarez and Jafarian will also join a panel of high profile investors and technologists to judge a pitch competition including Melissa Krinzman of Krillion Ventures, Jeff Ransdell of Fuel Venture Capital, Brian Chappon of wellness-focused travel company Centred, and serial entrepreneur Michael Burtov. Local sports tech startups FitFones, TicketRev, Gemini Sports Analytics, Spectal, and Kemtai will be given a few minutes to pitch their companies in hopes of winning a brand strategy session with Miami-based agency Wheelhouse, a $15,000 value.

Sponsors of the Magic City Cup include the nonprofit Tech Hub South Florida, early-stage startup community the Shrimp Society, coding school Boca Code, Soccercito, an aggregator of all things soccer and tech, and coworking space CIC Miami. Event tickets start at just $10 (use code SOFLOTECH for 15% off) .

Students at Boca Code have developed an app for the event, providing a learning opportunity for these fledgling programmers while giving back to the South Florida community. Michelle Bakels, Lead Instructor and Developer at Boca Code, noted that “there’s a lot of crossover between the mindset and work ethic of a software developer, athlete, and musician – and it’s exciting to bring these things together in a unique way to celebrate those similarities.”

Michelle Bakels

Bakels continued, “We’re so honored to be a part of the Magic City Cup because we appreciate the intention of the event: to bring people from diverse backgrounds together with a common passion and showcase their dedication to excellence.”

Magic City Cup Organizer Reese Whitely

Organizer Reese Whitely, a sports medicine professional, first developed the idea for the Magic City Cup when he went to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and experienced the excitement of fans rallying around their countries.

“I wanted to use soccer as a way to bring people from different communities together,” he told Refresh Miami. In 2019, Whitely hosted a smaller-scale version of the Magic City Cup; however, the Cup was unable to take place in 2020 due to Covid-19.

Whitely, who originally hails from Jamaica, hopes that young people can feel inspired by the initiative.

“I want them to see that when you come up with an idea and put your mind to it, you can do anything.”

Photo at top of post is from the 2019 Magic City Cup event


Riley Kaminer