David Beckham finally is ready to scratch his four-year Major League Soccer itch.
The retired soccer icon announced Monday that MLS has approved Beckham’s bid to operate an expansion franchise in Miami. Beckham’s announcement comes almost four years after he exercised his option to purchase an MLS expansion team at a steep discount and locate it in the “Magic City.”
Beckham previously had endured years of frustration over the Miami MLS project, as he sought investors and a suitable stadium site. Many wondered whether he’d ever launch the team, but those doubts now have eroded.
“Luckily, this four years of pain, at times, has taught me that sometimes you go through certain moments where it’s difficult,” Beckham told the Miami Herald. “I look at the past four years and see the positive. There’s a reason why it’s taken this long.”
The Miami MLS team intends to build a 25,000-seat, $200 million privately financed stadium in the city’s Overtown neighborhood. The facility is unlikely to be built until 2021, but the team reportedly is scheduled to play its inaugural season in 2020, according to the Miami Herald.
Beckham headlines the Miami MLS ownership group, which also includes Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, MasTec Jorge Mas, MasTec CEO Jose Mas, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and entertainment mogul and Beckham’s business partner Simon Fuller.
Beckham played 19 seasons as a professional in four countries, including a six-year stint in MLS with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He announced he’ll oversee the team’s soccer operations.
“…As for my involvement, I’ve played this game for many years,” Beckham said. “I’ve been lucky to have played in some of the biggest clubs in the world, under some of the biggest managers, with some of the best players. So, my experience is in football, so that is what I bring this ownership group.”
Despite the fact Beckham’s group didn’t announce a team name, colors or many other details, it’s all MLS systems go in Miami.
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