The David Beckham-backed MLS group in Miami is pitching an Inter Miami CF training academy, reportedly proposing Amelia Earhart Park as its site.
Beckham partners Jorge and Jose Mas met on Tuesday with Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez and county park officials about a proposed facility for Inter Miami CF–an MLS expansion club slated to begin play in 2020. The training academy could reportedly be developed at the county’s more-than-500-acre Amelia Earhart Park outside of Hialeah, with plans calling for facilities and offices for the MLS squad, and the addition of more soccer fields above what is already on site.
The training academy would not only be used by the MLS squad, but also provide a base for Inter Miami CF’s youth programs and fields that could be utilized for major tournaments. Some details beyond that remain unknown at this point, while there could be political hurdles involved in trying to convert existing county parkland into an MLS training facility. More from the Miami Herald:
Miami-Dade’s charter limits commercial activities and construction at county parks, so the Beckham bid to create a facility for its MLS team to Amelia Earhart promises to be a complicated political lift for Gimenez.
In pitching the plan for MLS taking part of a public park, Mas touted the prospect of a soccer facility enjoyed by the public.
“We want to know how to activate it for the community,” [Jorge] Mas said. “How do we have Friday-night coaching clinics? How do we do development for the little kids? That’s what it’s all about. …. We have elite athletes in Dade County. How do we give them the option of being able to choose the path of soccer?”
Many MLS teams use their academies to recruit star youth players into the league system, but they also run for-profit clinics for everyday soccer players under the squad’s brand.
Training academy discussions are separate from those of a new stadium, as the Beckham group is working to build a soccer-specific stadium on the city-owned Melreese Country Club, located near Miami International Airport. Miami voters approved a November referendum to allow local elected officials to negotiate the development of the golf course for a stadium and adjoining entertainment district, but the group still needs to finalize a lease with the city. In addition, the club will have to find a one-year home, as it is slated to begin play in 2020 but a new stadium isn’t expected to open until 2021.
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