It was the soccer’s worst kept secret but yesterday David Beckham officially revealed that he is indeed fronting a new MLS team to be based in Miami. The now retired soccer legend has decided to exercise an option in his old Galaxy contract that he signed back in 2007. Written in to David Beckham’s LA Galaxy contract was the option to become a franchise owner giving the former England midfielder the door he needed however the ease in which he opened that door was quite unexpected.
In fact, it would appear as though MLS commissioner Don Garber was holding it open as Beckham swanned in immaculately dressed buzzing with self confidence. Garber, known for his rules and regulations has turned a blind eye to many of the requirements that the MLS has for potential new franchises including securing a stadium to play in or at least the land (neither of which the new Miami team has) and an investment of $100m paid to the MLS (Beckham paid only $25m as per the terms in his old legacy contract). But for Garber, having Beckham and the worlds media that follows him back in the MLS makes the risks more palatable and with Miami ready to bend over backwards to accommodate Beckham and his investors, everything should fall into place fairly quickly.
Indeed Beckham and business partners (Entertainment guru Simon Fuller and Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure) have been in deep negotiations with the city over a preferred waterfront location for a new all seater stadium. Working with Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez, Beckham knows he needs the land and quickly so that construction can get underway to meet the 2016 season deadline. With a place to play, construction on the team will follow, much in the same style as what is happening in New York with New York City Football Club. A CEO and Director of Football will be appointed, followed swiftly by an announcement over the clubs first ever manager.
Then player selection will begin with Beckham keen to help bring in some of the world’s greatest players. Having played at Manchester United, Real Madrid, PSG and Milan, options are not limited with some players already putting up their hands to sign on. But Beckham will know that he needs to bring in the right players, at the right price and age and not ones who are looking for one final pay day. He will want to follow Toronto’s lead by investing in players of caliber who still have several years left to play. Smartly Beckham will not reveal now who he has in mind but will look to pull as many strings as possible to bring the world’s best to Miami.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done before the kick off in their inaugural season in 2016 including finding a name for the club. Suggestions have already been touted from Miami Waves to Miami Mavericks and even a kick back to the old NASL team name, Miami Toros. But whatever the team is called, it will be what happens on the pitch that will matter the most to Beckham.
As the face of the club, he can ill afford to damage his reputation by being associated with a lemon or an underperforming team. Getting it right from day one will require a lot of preparation, with a handful of luck thrown into the mix. If the world’s media was fixated on New York in 2013 with the news surrounding NYCFC and the rebirth of the Cosmos, 2014 will be all about Miami and whether or not Beckham can write yet another chapter into soccer history.