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MLS Expected to Award David Beckham Miami Expansion Franchise at Last

30 January 2018

Miami doesn't even know for sure what year it will enter the league.

Beckham, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and MLS commissioner Don Garber will be among the dignitaries at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, where it is expected that the league will confirm the bid.

Issues finding a stadium site delayed the franchise from being approved, and Garber said on Monday the ownership group also needed to find local investors with the capital to back a Miami franchise. I joined LA Galaxy in 2007 because I realised the potential in this league.

Beckham admits the protracted saga caused him "slight pain" over the course of the last four years but he is now looking forward to a new chapter in Miami. The team is now using the placeholder name Fútbol Miami MLS, but will get rolling on its real branding shortly. Former MLS star David Beckham will have part ownership in the club as well.

"Our mission to bring an MLS club to Miami is now complete, and we are deeply satisfied, grateful and excited", Beckham, who becomes the first former MLS player to own a team in the league, said in a statement.

Tickets made available on Friday by organizers of Monday's MLS announcement in Miami were claimed in less than two hours. Miami's place in the league has been an open question since an earlier media event five years ago.

Today, after a years-long attempt to bring a professional soccer team to the city, it's official. There were times when we said "this dream is not going to happen". I knew Miami was the city. It took perseverance and patience, but it has certainly paid off.

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The latest proposed site is in the Overtown neighbourhood where the group has purchased six acres of land and has an agreement for three more acres after a deal with Miami Dade County authorities. But this was undoubtedly a good day long in the making for Miami. "This is the first step in our quest to build one of the top clubs in MLS and the Americas". And that was the biggest hold up the entire time - finalizing stadium plans.

Jorge Mas is the co-founder and chairman of the board of MasTec. While declaring his excitement for the South Florida community and its fans, Beckham also dropped a few hints as to how he'd like the roster to be constructed. Populous has also worked on numerous top soccer venues around the world, including the new stadium for Tottenham Hotspur, opening this year, and the expansion of Manchester City's Etihad Stadium in 2015.

"David could've given up and said that this was too hard, not worth the effort", said Gimenez.

Miami, with its large Hispanic population and famed beach lifestyle, has always been seen as an ideal soccer market, yet MLS has tried and failed there before. He went on to say that Miami had a "community of Colombians, Brazilians, Venezuelans, Argentines, Cubans, Mexicans" who all have a "passion for soccer". "This is an historic moment for our city". In 2007 he was an aging player, but still one of Europe's most elite and influential soccer talents.

The area is home to the NFL's Miami Dolphins, NBA's Miami Heat, MLB's Miami Marlins and the NHL's Florida Panthers as well as many top collegiate sports programs. Fans will be heavily involved in selecting the colours and name for the team.

Ahead of its 22nd season, which kicks off in March, MLS remains in the midst of an expansion process that saw four cities shortlisted from an original list of 12 towards the end of past year.

MLS Expected to Award David Beckham Miami Expansion Franchise at Last