Football star Beckham launches Miami team

30 January, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Jeannette Greene
  • David Beckham and his partners said they will make “an important announcement on the future of soccer in Miami.”

The team is expected to begin MLS play in 2020 at a 25 000-seat stadium to be built in Miami's Overtown neighbourhood. It took Beckham almost four years just to get this far with Miami, and there's a slew of details still to come - such as the team name, logo and when it will start play. Part of the deal is that Beckham's group will also build a training centre and an academy focused on developing local players. One of the final pieces in the deal, Claure and Beckham said, was securing the participation of Jorge and Jose Mas, owners of a Miami construction firm who are Cuban-Americans with deep ties to the city.

Beckham, 42, retired in 2013 after a 20-year career that saw him win league crowns with Manchester United in England, Real Madrid in Spain, the Galaxy in North America and Paris Saint-Germain in his farewell matches.

"We're here because of David", said Marcelo Claure, one of Beckham's partners.

"We had super, super productive meetings in KC", he said. But despite the struggles to find a stadium site and a search for local investors, Beckham said he never wavered on Miami as the city where he wanted to launch a team.

The idea of the franchise coming to Miami began looking very real last spring, when Miami-Dade County commissioners approved a deal to sell Beckham almost three acres of county land for $9 million - the last parcel needed for the nine-acre site in the city's Overtown neighborhood, where the stadium is likely to be built. MLS, which will stream the event live on its website, said they were participating in what will be "a special announcement".

It took a few more months. I was in. I was in from day one.

Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez said he hoped to see the team launch before the stadium is finished, if possible. "This announcement has been a long time coming".

MLS is planning to choose another expansion club in Cincinnati, Detroit and Sacramento. The new teams are now paying about $150 million to participate in the championship. MLS' average attendance at matches has also risen almost 43 percent over that 12-year span.

MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the news at a media conference on Monday, concluding a journey Beckham embarked upon in February 2014 when he exercised an option to own an expansion team that was included in his LA Galaxy contract back in 2007.

The site is not far from downtown but the plan did not include any available parking, instead relying on the nearby Metrorail shuttle, buses, water taxis on the Miami River, and fans wanting to march en masse toward the stadium.


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