In a move that has been the worst kept secret in sports over the last few months, David Beckham has officially exercised a $25 million option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami. The new team will be the 22nd franchise in MLS, and will be a joint venture between Beckham, Simon Fuller and billionaire Marcelo Claure. And if one thing is clear about the ambition of the three, it is that Miami will be a model franchise of MLS right from the start.
Unlike many other sports franchises in North America, Beckham has insisted that Miami will be building their stadium without the use of public funding. While to some this may not be a big deal, it does allow the franchise to build the stadium to the likings of the owners, and with Beckham on board it can be assured this place will be a soccer palace. There will be no use of the turf that tears apart players’ knees and is awful for soccer, and the franchise will likely have the stadium placed close to where the Miami Heat play in the Miami Hotel District and is easily accessible for many people.
Aside from just building a stadium that will be great for both players and fans, though, this franchise will have an inherent advantage on getting world class players that no other MLS team has. That advantage would be the presence of Beckham, who is one of the most recognizable people in the world and surely has a few friends who would like to come live on South Beach where the weather stays between 80 and 100 degrees all year. If the likes of Xavi Hernandez and Didier Drogba have rebuked the league in the past, it can be assured a phone call from Beckham would go a long way to changing this.
Of course just bringing in star players does not win games in soccer, and some will fear Beckham having the roster construction ability of Michael Jordan, or in other words no ability. Personally, I do not see this happening as Beckham is smart enough to realize that he cannot do everything alone and that genuine team builders and veteran personnel will be needed to make a successful side. Moreover, the former England superstar already knows that working within the salary cap is a necessity in MLS, and it wouldn’t be farfetched to see him attract a veteran American coach like Bruce Arena to Miami.
If one thing is sure about the newly created Miami franchise, it is that it will be successful off the field and will fill up their stadium with consistency. Additionally, with one of the greatest soccer players of the last twenty years on board they will also have a few high profile players on board in quick succession, and before long they will be the model franchise for all in MLS to follow.