World football legend David Beckham has announced the development of a new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, per MailOnline Sport on Twitter:
Beckham: 'I wanted to create a team we can start from scratch. One that was very personal to me.' http://t.co/SXwAIYvIh0— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) February 5, 2014
Beckham, who exercised an option to purchase an expansion franchise, spoke about his latest venture and answered questions during an hour-long press conference held in Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 5. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez were also on hand for the event.
Both men spoke briefly but praised Beckham and his intentions, per CBS4 Miami on Twitter:
"He will be a committed local partner and do things for this community,” -Don Garber on Beckham— CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) February 5, 2014
There's currently no timetable on when the Miami-based franchise, which will become MLS's 20th club, will officially join the league, per football writer Dan Dickinson:
There is no date from MLS for when Beckham's team will join the league. Just references the 2020 date for "three more expansion teams".— Dan Dickinson (@GothamistDan) February 5, 2014
But as Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl points out, there are still some significant obstacles Beckham will have to overcome before the new club becomes a reality:
Beckham wanting to own an MLS team in Miami is huge for the league. Hardly a guaranteed success, though. Stadium (and team) not a done deal.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 5, 2014
When asked about the plans for a new stadium, Beckham confirmed that the franchise would not request public assistance, per Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald:
Beckham lays it out: "We don't want public funding, we will fund the stadium ourselves"— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) February 5, 2014
Beckham also hinted at the possibility of constructing the new stadium downtown, per Fox Soccer's Inside MLS on Twitter:
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman addressed one of the major issues Beckham and his partners will have to overcome in regards to getting a new stadium built exactly where they want:
Beckham doesn't need $$ for stadium but the public after Marlins fiasco will be skeptical and he needs them for the stadium site. #MLSMIAMI— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) February 5, 2014
Beckham also expressed his interest in bringing in marquee players to star for the franchise, making comparisons to the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat. At the same time, he hopes to develop local talent via a world-class academy, per beIN Sports on Twitter:
"The one thing I want to achieve more than anything is... I want to set up a great academy" David Beckham pic.twitter.com/8SoXITGSkB— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTSUSA) February 5, 2014
While it remains to be seen how long it will take to get a squad on the pitch, Beckham's star power and the allure of Miami have created lofty expectations. But according to Beckham via The FA on Twitter, South Beach is ready to take the next step:
David Beckham on buying MLS franchise in Miami: "I know this city is ready for soccer, football, & this is going to be successful."— The FA (@FA) February 5, 2014
A native of London, Beckham has starred for some of the globe's most recognizable clubs, including Manchester United, Real Madrid and MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 38-year-old won several titles over the course of his career and has an unparalleled global platform.
With one of the world's most recognizable faces and iconic footballers in Beckham headlining the project, the franchise will have a lot to live up to and continue to generate plenty of buzz.
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