David Beckham to set up a Miami MLS franchise
As the world’s media descended on a New Jersey stadium last weekend to cover the wrong kind of football, it stuck around a little while longer to witness David Beckham’s press conference given further down the coast on Wednesday, and his big MLS announcement.
February 6th, 2014
The former Preston North End loanee and one-time Man United mascot – oh yeah, and something about trebles, class of ’92, yada yada yada – announced that he has exercised a clause in his big fat LA Galaxy contract to become the founder and owner of Major League Soccer’s 22nd team for the low, low price of $25 million. Beckham will set up a new franchise team in Miami over the next few years, in line with MLS plans to expand from its current 19 teams to 24 in 2020.
The team is expected to begin competing in 2016 once a stadium is built; one whose construction Beckham kindly pointed out would not be shouldered by the taxpayer.
“We don’t want public funding. We want to fund the stadium ourselves.
“We can’t build a stadium in two weeks. Once we have the right partners and investors we’ll sit down with the city. The people of Miami deserve a stadium that they’re proud of.”
Beckham played his last competitive game of football in May 2013 for Paris St-Germain, who had already won the French Ligue 1 title – the fourth country in which Beckham had competed for and won a top-flight league medal aside from England, Spain and the US.
With the news that Orlando City will also become an MLS team in the next few years, we’re already awaiting a Florida derby with bated breath; it may not have the grit of a wet and wintry West Yorkshire derby or the flair of El Clasico, but as the United States continues in its quest to recognise ‘soccer’ as a national pastime alongside the other big sports, we could soon be treated to a unique view of proceedings thanks to Beckham’s European pedigree and his business partners’ wodges of cash.