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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora