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Major League Soccer Returns To Miami, Thanks To David Beckham

Former soccer player David Beckham at an event to announcing his Major League Soccer franchise in Miami Monday.
Rhona Wise
AFP/Getty Images
Former soccer player David Beckham at an event to announcing his Major League Soccer franchise in Miami Monday.

Major League Soccer announced it is awarding a franchise in Miami to former star player, David Beckham. Beckham, his financial backers, local officials and fans celebrated at a ceremony Monday in Miami.

When David Beckham signed as a player with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, he made a deal allowing him to buy a major league soccer franchise at a reduced rate. He first announced plans to bring an MLS franchise to Miami four years ago, but struggled with a series of obstacles involving financing and the stadium site. After eyeing locations along Miami's waterfront and next to Marlins Park, Beckham and his partners settled on a site in the Overtown neighborhood, close to downtown.

At the announcement, Beckham admitted that bringing soccer to Miami wasn't easy and there were times he almost gave up. He said it was like much of his career. Beckham recalled a coach's advice to him when he was just 12. "He said, 'You will never play professional football you will never play for your country because you're too small, you're too skinny. It's not going to happen.' Twenty-five years on, I made 115 appearances for my country. I've won four different championships in four different places. I had a pretty good career."

Beckham credited partner and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure for convincing him Miami should be the location for his MLS franchise. One of the final pieces in the deal, Claure and Beckham said, was securing the participation of Jorge and Jose Mas, owners of a Miami construction firm who are Cuban-Americans with deep ties to the city.

This won't be Miami's first MLS franchise. An earlier team, the Miami Fusion folded after just four seasons. The new Miami team is expected to begin playing in 2020. The team's name, logo and colors will be announced in a few months, after getting input from fans.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.

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