David Beckham Sets His Sights On Miami MLS Team
Having played soccer in Manchester, Madrid, Los Angeles, Milan and even Paris, David Beckham is now setting his sights on Miami.
The English sports icon won't be lacing up his cleats, however, and instead plans to launch a new Major League Soccer franchise in the sunshine state, according to an announcement made on Wednesday.
"This is an exciting time for myself, for my family and friends," the 38-year-old said during a press conference overlooking Biscayne Bay, Fla., before hinting that there could be some big names coming to join him in the clubhouse of the 22nd MLS franchise.
"Who wouldn’t want to play in Miami, live in Miami?" asked the Londoner. "I'm getting messages saying, 'When’s it happening? When can we get there?' I know this city is ready for football."
One of the superstars who has been linked to the launch of the project is NBA MVP LeBron James, who conveniently plays nearby for the Miami Heat, who describes David as a "good friend."
"A lot of great people want to invest in this team and this club," boasted Beckham. "We don’t want public funding. We will fund the stadium ourselves," he added, regarding the 25,000-seat arena that will host the team.
Beckham, who retired from playing in May 2013 and landed the new deal for a cut-price $25 million as part of his MLS contract, has partnered with entertainment impresario Simon Fuller and Bolivian telecoms billionaire Marcelo Claure to raise the funds, reported The Guardian.
Don Garber, the MLS commissioner, stressed the importance of having such a famous name in the Barclays Premier League and the MLS as part of the franchise.
"He’s had an incredible impact on our sport in this country," he explained. "As a player he kept us on the edge of our seats. He’s incredibly focused and incredibly smart. Very few people have that focus that enables him to translate what made him a great athlete into what will make him a great owner.
"This is the first time in the modern era that an ex-athlete has joined the ranks of owner," he added. "As a player and ambassador for MLS he's had an amazing impact on our league. He helped motivate champions like Thierry Henry come to the MLS."