Sun | Feb 25, 2018

Beckham announces Miami MLS franchise

Published:Tuesday | January 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM
David Beckham poses for a photo at an event yesterday where it was announced that Major League Soccer is bringing an expansion team to Miami. The team is backed by Beckham and a group of investors.

MIAMI (AP):

David Beckham had a speech prepared and well rehearsed for the event four years in the making, then abandoned his script shortly after taking the confetti-covered stage.

Fitting, since nothing in his quest went as planned.

"Bringing an MLS club to Miami," Beckham said, "has been a hell of a journey."

The journey is now complete, in some respects: Beckham has his team, and Miami is back in Major League Soccer (MLS).

Beckham and MLS announced Monday that the long-awaited franchise is now born. It took Beckham nearly four years just to get this far with Miami, and there are a slew of details still to come such as the team name, logo, when it will start play, and when the stadium will open.

The biggest hurdle, it seems, has now been cleared.

"Welcome, Miami," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.

"Hola, Miami," Beckham said, a nod to the multicultural make-up of the city.

The team will play in a 25,000-seat, privately funded stadium, though it remains unclear when that will open a very possible scenario is that the team begins play in 2020, and moves into its permanent home in time for the 2021 season. Part of the deal also is that Beckham's group will build a training centre and an academy focused on developing local players.

"Our pledge to our fans in Miami and around the world is simple: your team will always strive to make you proud on the pitch, our stadium will be a place that you cherish visiting, and our impact in the community and on South Florida's youth will run deep," Beckham said.