David Beckham’s Miami franchise finally set for official launch before the end of January

David Beckham’s long-awaited Miami soccer franchise is seemingly just days away from its official launch. The club’s official launch is expected to take place by the end of January, according to one of the new members of Beckham’s ownership group.

Jorge and Jose Mas joined the Beckham United group in December, along with Japanese businessman Masayoshi Son. The Mas brothers met with Beckham and fellow investor Marcelo Claure in Kansas City last week, with official confirmation of the franchise’s launch now apparently very close.

“We had super, super productive meetings in KC,” Jorge Mas told the Miami Herald on Saturday. “I’m very excited for what we can bring the Miami soccer fan, and we’ll have some big news to announce in Miami in the near future.

“Being a native, I’m a Miami guy 1,000 percent, and I want to make this a really special team with a really special fan experience.”

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If the official unveiling does indeed take place before the end of the month, the team’s official name and preliminary kit designs should be revealed for the first time. MLS Commissioner Don Garber would be expected to host the event, along with Beckham and his business partners.

Worth the wait?

It’s been just short of four years since this process began for Beckham. MLS announced that Beckham had exercised an option to launch his own expansion team for the discounted fee of $25 million back in February 2014, less than a year after his retirement from football.

The agreement to launch his own franchise for a reduced cost was written into his LA Galaxy contract that he penned ten years ago. But Beckham has suffered countless setbacks in the hunt for a stadium site for any potential team over the past few years.

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However, it now seems his dream is set to become a reality. The ownership group are preparing to begin building a 25,000-square-foot stadium in Overtown, just west of downtown Miami. Although the team would potentially have to play their first season at a temporary site if the stadium is not built in time.

The club are expected to enter MLS for the beginning of the 2020 season, although this will be confirmed at the official launch event. An event that finally appears to be imminent.

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Messi and Ronaldo to meet in Miami as El Clasico heads stateside this summer

The two biggest clubs in world football will go head-to-head in Miami this summer, with Real Madrid and Barcelona gearing up for just the second ever El Clasico to be played outside of Spain.

Some of the game’s biggest stars – including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – are expected to be on show as the Spanish giants prepare to face off in the 2017 International Champions Cup series. The game will be played on Saturday July 29 in front of over 60,000 people at the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium.

It will be the first time El Clasico has ever been played on American soil and will be just the second time the rivalry has been played outside of Spain, with the only previous meeting abroad coming 35 years ago in Venezuela.

Barcelona will have their famous MSN trio of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at their disposal, while Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to make the game, despite his involvement in the Confederations Cup in Russia a month before.

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It’s another huge boost for an ever-growing soccer audience in the USA and particularly for Miami, considering the continuous troubles with the attempts to get David Beckham’s MLS Expansion Franchise off the ground.

It would be an incredible day to announce that Miami is finally set to get an MLS team, but we’ll try not to get too ahead of ourselves on that one.

However, it is highly likely that either Barcelona or Real Madrid will be the opponent for the 2017 MLS All-Star match, which is set to take place in Chicago just four days after the game in Miami.

Ibrahimovic has heart set on MLS switch with Miami favoured destination – report

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and MLS. The link that just won’t go away. The charismatic Swedish striker is today being linked with a move to David Beckham’s projected Miami franchise by French newspaper L’Equipe.

The story fills the front page of the publication alongside the headline “Big bang in Miami” and a move stateside for Ibrahimovic would certainly create a splash.

A move to Miami would see the 34-year-old Paris Saint Germain star join up with David Beckham for the third time in his career, having played together at AC Milan and PSG before the Englishman retired in 2013.

However, Miami are yet to be officially confirmed as an MLS Expansion Franchise and won’t join the league until 2018 at the earliest, depending on how the ongoing stadium struggles pan out.

Ibrahimovic’s PSG contract expires at the end of the current season so he will be a free agent as of July. He would be free to move to MLS then, but would have to wait at least 18 months to play for a Miami team.

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New York City FC and LA Galaxy are also reported to be looking at signing ‘Ibra’ as a move to the United States looks to be his priority, despite his agent Mino Raiola claiming “he could move anywhere”.

The player himself has praised the growth of MLS and said he would love to experience soccer in the U.S. in an interview with Yahoo Sports this summer.

“I see that soccer is growing a lot in US. I mean, I was here 10 years ago and soccer was not on the level that it is today, but it’s growing.

“I would like to play. Which team? Am I allowed to say that? No, I cannot say that.”

Which MLS club would best suit Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

United legend set for Miami battle with former teammate

Manchester United and MLS legend, David Beckham is set for a battle with AC Milan icon, Paolo Maldini, as his proposal for a new Major League Soccer franchise continues.

Maldini has the upper-hand as his Miami Football Club will be competing in the North American Soccer League as of the 2016 season. Maldini is full of confidence ahead of Miami FC’s debut season.

“I’m proud and excited to be part of this venture. I strongly believe in the growth of soccer in USA, and this is the perfect project to develop a top-class soccer team in one of the most important cities of the world.”

Beckham’s latest setback with his proposal came in 2014, after a 25,000 capacity stadium was rejected and his push for a fourth Miami competitive side has not been easy. Miami politicians have rejected stadium applications twice for Beckham’s franchise and a proposal was made for his side to be based at Florida International University on a temporary basis.

Maldini’s Miami will become the third soccer side in the city, alongside Miami United and Miami Fusion, who both play in the National Premier Soccer League Sunshine Conference. Fusion formerly played in MLS until 2002.

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Miami FC were described as the ‘city’s only professional soccer club’ in an NASL statement, which is a blow for Beckham.

The former United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star is set to meet today with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and outgoing University of Miami president, Donna Shalala, about the possibility of a partnering on a football/soccer stadium.

Beckham needs his proposal to take a forward step as he is risking losing his expansion slot with a whole host of potential teams lining up to join MLS.

Don’t miss: Don Garber give fresh encouragement to MLS expansion hopefuls

Miami FC’s announcement yesterday has only intensified pressure on Beckham’s proposal to bring MLS to Miami.

Has Maldini’s Miami FC dealt a huge blow to Beckham and is this the start of a rivalry between two footballing greats?

Don Garber: MLS has ‘total belief’ in latest expansion franchise Minnesota United FC

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber strongly believes that the latest expansion franchise to be revealed, Minnesota United FC, will succeed as they represent everything that is spurring the growth of MLS.

Minnesota United FC were officially announced as the league’s 23rd expansion franchise on Wednesday afternoon and will enter the league by 2018 at the latest.

It’s a fascinating turnaround of fortunes for Minnesota United, who currently play in the NASL, as the club almost ceased from existence two years ago.

Uncertainty had surrounded soccer in Minnesota for years and after changing team names, league’s and ownership several times, Dr. Bill McGuire came in to save the club in November 2012.

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“[The owners] are totally committed,” Garber said at Wednesday’s expansion announcement from Target Field. “They love this game, they love this city and they’ve got a great plan for a building.

“They represent exactly what we want and what we need to continue this momentum that we have, that’s really stimulating the growth of our league.”

Don’t Miss: EXCLUSIVE: Minnesota United’s ‘Dark Clouds’ on MLS dream

Garber and the people at the top of the MLS pyramid chose Minnesota as the 23rd expansion franchise despite solid bids from Sacramento Republic, Las Vegas and a second one from Minnesota headed by the NFL’s Vikings ownership.

And the decision to award the latest MLS expansion slot to Minnesota United FC is something the MLS Commissioner thinks will go down as a great one.

“We have total belief in the Twin Cities. This is a market that is young, that is diverse, that has more people riding their bicycles around than they do in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is a pretty hip place.

“It has an incredible international flair too. It is a city that represents all of the things that we have been able to capitalize on that are allowing our league to be a sport for a new America. It’s diverse, it’s young and it is empowered by people who are the next generation of great sports fans.”

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United are set to enter MLS in time for the start of the 2018 season but could come in a year earlier, depending on developments with LAFC and their stadium plans, though Garber admitted that the date of entry had nothing to do with David Beckham’s proposed Miami franchise.

“It could be as early as 2017. We have a number of moving pieces. That’s part of the dynamic with a young sports league. The target is no later than ‘18 and it could be as early as 2017.

“Los Angeles is coming into our league and they are either ’17 or ’18 and Minnesota will be either ’17 or ’18. It’s not related to Miami.”

Will Minnesota United FC take MLS by storm when they enter the league in the next three years?

Las Vegas out of the running for next MLS Expansion Franchise

Las Vegas will not be the home of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise until after 2018 as it now appears Minneapolis, Sacramento, San Antonio and Miami will battle for the next two spots in the league.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber notified Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman about the decision in a letter on Thursday as he confirmed: “We are no longer considering Las Vegas as an expansion market until after 2018.”

MLS letter to Las Vegas Mayor Goodman

 

Mayor Goodman was obviously disappointed with the decision but remains focused on trying to bring a major sports franchise to the city in the next few years.

“Of course I am disappointed that the MLS did not select Las Vegas for an expansion team in the 2017 or 2018 seasons,” Goodman said.

“I still believe our city would be the perfect location for a major league team, and I am saddened that we miss out on the opportunity to gain $450 million in downtown investment and job creation.

Photo: An artist's portrayal of what a Las Vegas MLS stadium could look like

Photo: An artist’s portrayal of what a Las Vegas MLS stadium could look like

“A team coming here would have been the catalyst for other developments in the downtown. I hope the MLS will still consider Las Vegas for a team beyond 2018, and that the league’s decision will not be a negative influence on other major league franchises coming to our city.”

Atlanta and Los Angeles will enter the league in 2017, becoming the 21st and 22nd teams but Don Garber’s vision for 24 MLS teams by the end of the decade means two more are expected to join by 2019.

Miami are expected to be one of those teams so long as David Beckham can find a stadium for the team and that would mean Minneapolis, Sacramento and San Antonio would then battle for the final remaining spot.

Who would you like to see announced as the 23rd and 24th teams to join MLS?

David Beckham Miami update: It’s been delayed but “it will happen”

David Beckham has spoken again, giving us another update as to what exactly is going on with his proposed Miami Major League Soccer franchise.

The former LA Galaxy star has seen two stadium plans rejected over the past year but Beckham has reiterated once again that the plans to get Miami in MLS are very much on track, despite the delays.

We’re making some really good progress, some real positive progress, so at some point in the next couple of months there will be some announcements,” he told the BBC.

“Miami obviously doesn’t have a stadium at the moment, and we’ll continue to work hard on that. So it’s hard work, of course, but nothing in life is easy. We’re focusing on that and then we’ll announce it when ready.”

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Reports at the start of January revealed that a major announcement regarding the plans for Miami was to be revealed by the end of March. That still looks to be the case but hearing Beckham speak positively about the plans is obviously important along the way.

“I mean, delays are always frustrating, but to get it right, sometimes there are delays.

“We will get it right and it will happen. It’s taken a little bit longer than we thought. But it will happen,” he said with confidence.

Beckham was speaking from an event today announcing his extension as the UNICEF goodwill ambassador – a role he has filled for 10 years now.

Atlanta and Los Angeles FC are set to join the league in 2017 and with Don Garber’s plans to have 24 teams by the end of the decade still very much intact, we can expect to see Beckham’s Miami franchise playing sooner rather than later.

A date will be announced at some stage but for now the priority remains to find the team a home, even if that is a temporary one to get the club up and running.

When can we expect to see David Beckham’s Miami franchise in MLS?

David Beckham MLS Miami update: Major announcement coming

David Beckham‘s Miami-based Major League Soccer franchise is heading in the right direction again, and a major announcement is expected before the end of March, reports Tom Hopkins of the Sunday People. 

Beckham announced plans to introduce a Miami expansion franchise into MLS last February but has faced continuous problems with regard to finding a suitable location for a stadium.

Two proposed waterfront sites have fallen through after local residents and businesses refused the plans put forward by Beckham and his team, and Don Garber reiterated in August that the expansion would not go ahead without a suitable stadium plan.

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There still doesn’t appear to be a definite plan but the chances are that the team will groundshare for at least their first season – the Florida International University campus is believed to be an option, while a permanent home is built.

An official statement released by Miami Beckham United on Thursday reiterated that plans are on the right path and things are looking good.

“Things are progressing in Miami, and we are very much on track in our plans,” the statement read. “David Beckham is very positive about the future of the club, and he continues to enjoy incredible support from the people in Miami.”

Aside from stadium plans, Beckham has been finalising plans for the clubs colours, team name and is making sure that the appropriate investors and sponsors are all on board as the former LA Galaxy star looks to kick things up a notch.

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Two expansion franchises New York City FC and Orlando City SC will enter MLS this year, with Atlanta and a second Los Angeles side set to join in 2017.

Don Garber set a target of having 24 teams by the end of the decade and Miami is very much back on track to being the 23rd, leaving one space. Minnesota, Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Antonio, St. Louis and El Paso have all prepared bids to become the 24th.

The major announcement could be anything from a stadium solution, to club colours and a team name or even all of the above and we now wait with excitement for an update from Beckham himself.

Will the Miami franchise be a success in MLS?

What is the latest situation with David Beckham’s Miami MLS expansion team?

Back in February, David Beckham announced plans to open a new franchise and still maintains that he will be able to bring an MLS team to Miami, as does business partner Marcelo Claure who echoed these ambitions.

“Even with all the problems that we’ve had with Miami politics when it comes to stadiums, I believe that we are in the final stages of making some important announcements, because it’s a very important goal for me that Miami has a soccer team,” he said.

Claure resides in Miami and also owns the Bolivian soccer team Bolivar. He’s been working alongside Beckham since it became apparent that he was interested in setting up an expansion team.

Problems

The project hasn’t been without its setbacks as local politicians have already rejected two of the stadium venues proposed, but Beckham said his team will continue to look for sites.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said, “this can’t go on forever – the Beckham group continues to work to try and find a stadium solution that they believe will put them in a position to succeed.”

Commentator Richard Fleming has also raised concerns and said, “time is running out for David Beckham – the league is aiming for 24 teams and others are queuing up, so Miami and the former England captain had better get a move on.”

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A spokesperson for Miami Beckham United said, “Miami is still David’s number one choice and it will happen. The fans and the people of Miami are behind us and we hope to announce some positive and exciting news soon. The reality is that everything is progressing very well.”

We await further updates on the situation, but it’s unlikely that there will be any developments until the new year now.

Will David Beckham be able to bring an MLS team to Miami?

David Beckham, the man with a plan

By Simon Pyne

David Beckham is set to introduce his very own team into Major League Soccer, and after such a great playing career, his Miami side will surely be a success.

There’s not a lot that hasn’t already been written about David Beckham. A true icon of world football and a name synonymous with immense skill and unbridled passion for the game.

From the moment he appeared on the back pages, he was never really off them during his glittering 20-year career.

From his early days in East London, to the success he achieved at Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Paris Saint-German and LA Galaxy, he has always showed the same determination to succeed and has put in the hard work required to achieve his goals.

For the English National team, he always showed a desire and passion to play for his country, and although this has been seen before amongst the likes of Stuart Pearce and Terry Butcher, it has arguably not been seen since.

He collected 115 caps, which was a record for an outfield player, and he still says one of his greatest achievements in football was captaining his country.

A true legend of his time in world football, but what was left for him to strive for once he finally hung his boots up?

He has been an ambassador for the sport and his country, and is carrying out the same role for UNICEF as well as Chinese football, but the desire for success and a new challenge would be gnawing at him internally.

So perhaps we should not be surprised he is now striving to build his own MLS team in Miami and is attacking the challenge with the same passion and enthusiasm he showed during his playing career.

There are huge challenges in store for him, as the problems with the new stadium location are already showing, with local business heavyweights objecting to the current proposal.

Miami Beckham United

Photo: Miami’s proposed soccer stadium (Miami Beckham United)

The new team are hoping to join MLS in 2017 and are perhaps taking the biggest gamble of all due to the previous Florida soccer teams; Dolphins, Panthers and Marlins all struggling with attendance figures in past seasons.

Miami will have to win games and then some in order to draw the fanbase they will require to enable success, and although “Brand Beckham” will be a draw they will still need big name players to bring in the crowds.

Of course Beckham has some great contacts to draw on, after playing for some of the biggest teams on the planet, and this will be a massive boost for the Miami team and MLS in general, as household name players are bound to appear for him.

It should follow that more supporters will be drawn by this influx of stars, so it has to be a win-win situation for the sport and MLS when, and not if, he succeeds in his plan.

One thing is for sure, David Beckham will put his heart and soul into his new venture in the same way he did during his playing career, and if all goes to plan with the stadium, we will all be talking a lot more about MLS and Miami very soon.