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?

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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.