Fresh off of his H&M underwear commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLVIII, former England international turned fashion icon David Beckham is set to announce that he will be bringing an MLS team to Miami by 2017. Beckham has been working closely with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez for the past couple months, and with the help of investors like two-time NBA Champion Miami Heat forward LeBron James, the project is officially a go.
With the star-studded duo of Beckham and James, there should be no problem gaining further support for a 25,000-seat stadium on the ever-sunny Miami waterfront. Interestingly enough, Beckham was actually given the option to buy an MLS franchise back when he first signed for the Los Angeles Galaxy. A clause was actually inserted into his contract that would allow him to buy a team for a discounted rate of $25 million. Very sly, Mr. Beckham.
The 38-year-old Beckham has become something of a philanthropist during the tail end of his career and regularly donates to charitable organizations around the world. For those who don’t know, when “Becks” was playing his final season as a player at French side Paris Saint-Germain last year, he donated his entire six-month salary to a children’s charity in Paris.
Although bringing an MLS team to Miami is not necessarily going to save the world, it will be a major boost for the Miami community as well as the Southern U.S. as a whole. For whatever reason, the only time the MLS has experimented with a team in the south was in 1998-99 with the Miami Fusion which ultimately folded due to poor attendance. Since then there has never been an MLS team in the southern states, excluding the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas which to me are more southwest than deep South.
States like Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Louisiana and the Carolinas are a hotbed for talent, and the closest thing that any of these places have to a professional soccer team are second division NASL sides. To be fair, these are good, competitive teams with quality players, but they are not up to the standard of a rising MLS that can only keep improving year after year. It is safe to say that with the addition of Beckham’s Miami expansion the league will only get better.
MLS commissioner Don Garber and Beckham are expected to make a “significant announcement” sometime during the coming weeks, and barring any major setbacks, construction of the stadium will start when the location is approved. So for all the ladies, you may only have to wait three short years until you can watch great soccer in Florida and see Beckham shirtless on South Beach.