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?

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET