News / USA

Beckham Launches Plan to Build Soccer Franchise in Miami

David Beckham responds to a question following a news conference where he announced he will exercise his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami, Feb. 5,  2014, in Miami.
David Beckham responds to a question following a news conference where he announced he will exercise his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami, Feb. 5, 2014, in Miami.
Reuters
Former England soccer captain David Beckham announced on Wednesday that he has exercised his option to become the owner of a Major League Soccer team in Miami.
 
“I have worked for some of the biggest clubs in the world, and some of the greatest players in the world, and this is a dream,” the international soccer star said at an appearance with MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the south Florida city's gleaming new bayfront art museum.
 
“This is an exciting time ... for myself, exciting time for my family and friends and partners, and something we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami,” Beckham added, to chants of “We're going to MLS,” from a group of fans calling themselves the “Southern Legion.”
 
Garber called the decision a “historic day ... for soccer in America,” noting that Beckham was the first former player anywhere in the world to become the owner of a top league soccer team in modern times.
 
Supporters of an MLS expansion team to Miami cheer as they wait for David Beckham's arrival to a news conference in Miami, Florida, Feb. 5, 2014Supporters of an MLS expansion team to Miami cheer as they wait for David Beckham's arrival to a news conference in Miami, Florida, Feb. 5, 2014
x
Supporters of an MLS expansion team to Miami cheer as they wait for David Beckham's arrival to a news conference in Miami, Florida, Feb. 5, 2014
Supporters of an MLS expansion team to Miami cheer as they wait for David Beckham's arrival to a news conference in Miami, Florida, Feb. 5, 2014
A final deal to grant the franchise to Beckham's investment 'group could be several months away though, sources close to the negotiations said, with a stadium location and financing still requiring approval from the MLS board for his team to become the 22nd club of the top U.S. professional soccer league.
 
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, said negotiations for the stadium started last week.
 
“There's going to be a few bumps along the way, but we're going to make the team in Miami not just the best team in America, we're going to take the team global,” Beckham told a reception for city leaders at Miami's performing arts center on Tuesday night.
 
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, who also played for the Los Angeles Galaxy, retired as a player last May and holds a $25 million option in his MLS contract to start a new franchise.
 
Beckham is already in discussions with Miami-Dade county to possibly lease county-owned land for a 25,000-seat stadium.
 
“I have seen the atmosphere around the city,” Beckham told the media Tuesday outside the reception, referring to scenes he witnessed last year when the city's basketball team, the Miami Heat, captured the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship.
 
“I saw the passion of the people for sport,” he said, dressed in a sharp charcoal suit and tie.
 
Beckham, 38, arrived in Miami fresh from having attended Sunday's Superbowl in New Jersey, TV coverage of which featured a fit Beckham in an underwear commercial.
 
Beckham's investment group has narrowed its stadium search to five possible sites in and around downtown Miami, officials say, including a 25-acre (10-hectare) waterfront lot next to the port of Miami's cruise ship terminals, potentially putting the new team at the forefront of Miami's tourism landscape.
 
MLS has stressed the importance of having a final stadium deal, along with a business plan, before it will approve a new team.
 
Beckham's group is not looking for public financing, but may need to negotiate site plans with the county, such as leasing the port location, to help build a privately financed stadium.
 
Beckham has toured Miami twice in recent months with British businessman and American Idol creator Simon Fuller, as well as Bolivian-born billionaire Marcelo Claure, founder of Miami-based Brightstar Corp, the world's largest wireless distributor and the provider of global services to Apple.
 
Beckham is also looking for a pad in Miami, although the London home he shares with his wife of 14 years, former pop star-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, and their four young children, will remain the main family home.
 
“We are going to be spending a lot of time here,” he told the media on Tuesday. “We are hoping to get our own place here as well.”

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid