David Beckham has been granted permission to finally launch his long-planned soccer franchise in Miami. The former England captain has been attempting to create an MLS club since his retirement from professional football in 2013, and will now build a 25,000 capacity stadium in Miami’s Overtown neighbourhood.
Founding a US soccer franchise has been one of David Beckham’s grandest ambitions. When Beckham joined MLS side LA Galaxy in 2007, he quickly became infatuated with the MLS, taking inspiration from the future aspirations of commissioner Don Garber.
“I joined the Galaxy because I realised the long-term potential in this league,” said Beckham.
“I moved from Real Madrid to a league that wasn’t fully established yet – that was a big move and one I knew was going to be a big challenge but an exciting challenge.
“Commissioner Garber came to me and sat down and explained the plan of this league and where he wanted to take it – I was in from day one.”
It was Garber who signed off on Beckham’s proposed Miami expansion on Monday; however, the process had not been a straightforward one. It has taken David Beckham almost four years to get the franchise up and running, with identifying a suitable location for his club’s stadium one of his biggest battles. Beckham’s investors finally settled on a location in December 2015, after three failed attempts to purchase sites.
“It has definitely been years in the making,” said Beckham. “I have definitely got a lot older and greyer since the first announcement four years ago.” said Beckham
“It is an exciting time to become an owner, along with the other owners we have with the team – it is very special.
“We have had a few bumps in the road, which is normal in business. Nothing is smooth sailing but sometimes you have to go through times like this to actually feel more rewarded at the end of it.”
The new Miami franchise is yet to be given an official club name, but it will be the first club that has existed in the city since Miami Fusion concluded in 2001. Other new franchises to grace the MLS in coming years include Los Angeles FC – who are due to join the league in 2018, and a yet to be named Nashville side, which was granted an expansion in December.