Miami plan MLS entry no sooner than 2017, can they do it?

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Speaking to a much smaller number of reporters on Wednesday, while David Beckham announced Major League Soccer was coming back to Miami, Becks’ Bolivian business partner Marcelo Claure gave much more insight on when we can expect the team to enter MLS.

During the press conference involving Beckham, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Jimenez, scant details were divulged about a possible venue for MLS’ 22nd franchise and when the team would start play.

But Claure, a Bolivian entrepreneur who has made his money in wireless telecommunications devices and owns Brightstar, revealed that he, Beckham and their other business partner Simon Fuller expect 2017  to be the season MLS arrives in Miami.

Speaking to Franco Panizo of MLSsoccer.com, Claure had the following to say.

“Three years, three years, 2017,” Claure said. “That’s the idea if it all works out like we hope. I think three years is the objective because we’re creating a soccer team from scratch. We have to pick coaches, we have to involve the community, we have to pick a name, pick a jersey, we have to convince big-name players to come play for us. Three years is the minimum amount of time to be able to start a soccer team.”

(MORE: Official – Beckham announces Miami will be MLS’ 22nd franchise)

2017 was the expected start date many of us believed would be achievable for Miami to play their first MLS season, however Claure also touched on how difficult it will be to build a stadium and that despite their preference being a waterfront location close to the Miami Heat’s American Airlines Arena, the group had looked at over 30 possible locations to build a stadium.

source: Reuters
Beckham and Claure take in a recent Miami Heat game, as the Bolivian businessman revealed when they expect Miami to enter MLS.

I spoke about the potential stumbling block and possible venues for an MLS stadium in Miami yesterday, as this seems like the major hurdle in place for the owners of MLS’ newest franchise. Getting players, a coach and getting the team name, logo, brand and jersey together can be done relatively quickly, but the stadium deal cannot.

Red tape will be strewn across the entire project, but you would hope that now the MLS franchise has been awarded to Miami the Mayor’s office will be slightly reluctant to turn any stadium deal down. Of course it has to benefit the citizens of Miami, Beckham’s ownership group and MLS, but the push for a downtown stadium site means MLS in Miami may not start up until after 2017.

That’s a very real possibility.

It is one all parties want to avoid, but unless a spot is picked out and the plans are hammered out relatively quickly, MLS in Miami could get stuck in the mud for some time. Celebrations about the franchises arrival are over and done with, now the real work begins to get everything ready for a 2017 start date.

Can they do it?

France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

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A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, MLSSoccer.com is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The MLSSoccer.com report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

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Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

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The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.