Wednesday, February 05, 2014

David Beckham 'living a dream' with MLS franchise in Miami

David Beckham laughs as he discusses matters related to the ownership position he has with a proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team that could play in Miami, at a news conference in Miami, Florida February, 5, 2014. REUTERS-Andrew Innerarity
Supporters of an MLS expansion team to Miami cheer as they wait for David Beckham's arrival to a news conference in Miami, Florida February, 5, 2014. REUTERS-Andrew Innerarity
Don Garber (L), MLS commissioner, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) and David Beckham pose for a photo after a news conference in Miami, Florida February, 5, 2014. REUTERS-Andrew Innerarity

Former England captain David Beckham said he is "living a dream" as he outlined his plans for a new Miami-based Major League Soccer franchise. The 38-year-old, who retired as a player last May, wants to recruit some of "the best players" to help make the club "loved by millions". He said a world-class stadium would be built to host the franchise, which would be the 22nd in the MLS (Major League Soccer). "I want to make this my own team," said the ex-Manchester United midfielder. No date has been set for when the side would enter the MLS.
Beckham's option to purchase a franchise is believed to have been part of the financial package he negotiated when he joined LA Galaxy in 2007. He played for the MLS club until 2012. The former midfielder, who also had spells with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain, added:
"This is an exciting time for myself, my family, my friends and partners, and it is something we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami."
"We're planning to bring a team that will be a global team. I want to create a team that we can start from scratch and I am going to work hard for this city to make this team very successful. It is an exciting time."
"I have worked with some of the biggest clubs and greatest players and this is a dream." 
Miami's last Major Soccer League team folded more than a decade ago, having reportedly lost some $250m. But that was partly because the team played in nearby Fort Lauderdale, and never had a purpose-built stadium. The new franchise plans to construct one at a waterfront location, where Caribbean cruise ships dock. It's a new departure for one of the game's biggest stars.
Beckham, who won the Champions League, the Premier League, La Liga and Ligue 1 as a player, would not confirm any names of players he wants to attract to Miami.
"We will bring great players in," he said. "The fortunate thing about my career is players are already interested in coming to Miami."
"The one thing I want to achieve is to set up a kids' academy. We want local talent, not just great players from abroad. The way the US teams have improved has been incredible and the only way that will continue is to have good academies."
Beckham has long had an ambition to own a team in the US. His representatives held talks with the MLS about the possibility of him buying a franchise shortly before his retirement.  Basketball superstar LeBron James said in November that he was in discussion with Beckham about investing in the planned Miami club.
The last MLS team in Miami folded after being in existence for four seasons. It struggled with sparse attendance and had the lowest revenue in the league.

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