The ownership group headlined by David Beckham is planning the next steps for a Miami MLS franchise, and is expected to make some major announcements in the coming months.
After years of discussion about establishing an expansion team in Miami, MLS and Beckham announced plans for the club in January. The ownership group features Beckham, and is also backed by prominent local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, as well as American Idol founder Simon Fuller, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.
The current plan calls for a new soccer-specific, privately financed stadium to be constructed in Miami. Much of the stadium effort has been focused on a nine-acre site in Overtown, though there are some questions as to whether the location is too small for the project concept that is being discussed. However, the ownership group is planning other aspects of the organization–including its branding and a youth academy–and could make major announcements about details areas in the coming months. More from The Miami Herald:
Beckham said fans can expect news about the logo, name and colors by early-April. They are working with a New York-based creative arts company on those designs and fans will be invited to have some input.
Plans for a state-of-the-art youth academy are scheduled to be revealed sometime over the summer, and the Mas brothers have begun connecting with local youth clubs. The ownership group has been exploring stadium sites other than the agreed-upon Overtown site, “just to see what all the options are,” said Jorge Mas, who feels a bigger footprint is needed to build the kind of high-tech stadium he has in mind.
Beckham said he has also been consulting with managers and former players from his long career to come up with a style of play that suits South Florida’s diverse soccer-crazed population.
“You have to adapt to the climate of where we are, and the passion of the fans here in Miami and how they see their team playing — it has to be exciting, it has to be something where it’s all about attack,” Beckham told the Miami Herald by phone from the meeting. “That is how we want our team perceived not just in MLS, but around the world. Of course, the defending part is very important, but the Miami team has got to be about flair, simple as that. That’s what we’re looking for in style of play and players. It’s not going to be a boring type of play.
The proposed stadium is something that will be watched closely in the coming months. As it pertains to the Overtown site, the group faces some challenges. Bruce Matheson continues to argue that a Miami Dade County-owned land parcel for the stadium was sold below fair market value and should have been subjected to a bid process. He lost his first legal challenge when his lawsuit was dismissed, but recently filed an appeal. In addition, some residents in Overtown and the adjacent Spring Garden neighborhood are voicing their opposition to the proposal, which could have an effect given that certain aspects of the stadium plan still require governmental approval.
The Miami MLS team is expected to begin play in the 2020 season, and is officially MLS’s 25th franchise.
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