Two years after retiring as a player in Major League Soccer, former LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham announced that he will officially own a franchise based out of Miami in a news conference on Wednesday.
The former England national team captain watched on, dressed in a sharp gray suit, as MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed what everyone suspected: David Beckham will become the owner of a MLS club in Miami.
“From the beginning of my career in England to today in Miami, my journey has always been driven by my incredible passion for the game,” Beckham said in a news release. “Miami is a vibrant, diverse community that thrives on the same type of energy that fuels the international appeal of soccer, and I look forward to a dedicated, long-term partnership with this dynamic city and Major League Soccer. My experience with the Galaxy is what convinced me that I wanted to one day own an MLS team and it is thrilling to now see that dream coming true.”
When asked by the host of the news conference why he selected Miami as the site for his expansion club, Beckham joked "Why not?" before elaborating that he wanted to make a team in his image in a market where MLS has failed before.
The Miami Fusion were added to the league in 1998, but Garber made the decision to fold the club after the 2001 season, a decision widely seen as one that helped put the league on course for its current growth.
But Beckham and MLS are hoping things will be different, with the league landscape vastly different from the one that forced the Fusion's folding more than a decade ago. Garber credited Beckham, who joined the LA Galaxy in 2007 after the league created a rule allowing teams to sign players outside the existing salary cap framework.
"He will be laser-focused on delivering to this city a soccer team that all of you can be proud of," Garber told fans at the news conference.
Rumors have persisted that celebrities including NBA star LeBron James and musicians Jay-Z and Beyonce may be involved in the ownership group. That group will be finalized during the next several months, according to a news release, with Beckham's long-time business partner Simon Fuller the only other party announced Wednesday.
The one hurdle left for the club to clear will be finding a place to play.
"Beckham and his representatives plan to build a stadium for the new team, and they continue to have productive conversations with the Mayor Gimenez and the Miami-Dade County Commission regarding a world-class stadium for the community of Miami," the news release read. "Because of the importance of the stadium, an agreement for a new stadium must be finalized in order for MLS to come to Miami. Beckham has pledged that he will not seek County or City funds for the construction of the stadium."
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