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Beckham reportedly wants Steve Bruce in Miami

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He’s got the same initials as South Beach, you know?

Steve Bruce is being tipped to be the first manager of David Beckham’s Miami MLS outfit, according to The Sun.

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It’s going to be some time before Bruce would have the opportunity. The 56-year-old former Manchester United star has Aston Villa in a Football League Championship promotion push, and Miami does not even have a start date for life on an MLS pitch.

Of course, managerial life tends to be short, so there’s no guarantee Bruce will have a job at any point during the build-up to Miami in MLS. And several expansion clubs have named their coach very early in the team building process (Jason Kreis and Bob Bradley amongst others).

Bruce on MLS’ parity-driven playing field, if not as one of the big spenders, would be intriguing to watch. He’s a terrific man motivator and has the connections to combine with Beckham to make something special happen in terms of personnel.

MLS give update on Beckham’s Miami franchise

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So, it seems Major League Soccer to Miami with David Beckham is finally going to happen.

Beckham’s long and winding journey towards owning his own MLS franchise began in 2014 when there was an announcement in the City of Miami alongside Don Garber.

The former LA Galaxy star had exercised an option in his playing contract to own his own franchise and he wanted the team to be in Miami. Easy.

Not so much.

Since then many issues have arisen, mostly around a stadium deal downtown and then near Marlins Park in the Little Havana district of Miami.

It appears that headway is being made after a court ruling favored Beckham being able to buy the remaining three acres of land he needed to make the 25,000 stadium (costing him over $175 million) in Overtown a reality.

According to Dan Courtemanche (MLS’ executive vice president, communications) Beckham’s franchise will be officially announced in the coming months.

“We look forward to working with David, Todd Boehly [majority owner] and their partners to finalise their expansion plan. David and his partners have committed a significant amount of time and resources to put everything in place to bring Miami the elite-level soccer team and stadium it richly deserves. We expect to make an official announcement to launch a new Miami expansion club in the coming months,” Courtemanche told the BBC.

So, we’ve been here before many, many times, so what’s different this time?

Beckham has a stadium deal in place with land secured and the project in Overtown appears to be a near-perfect fit for an MLS team in Miami with a downtown location the aim all along.

The main delay over the past three years has been getting a stadium site for Beckham and Co. (the ownership group he has put together includes Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, his agent Simon Fuller and sports executive Tim Leiweke) but they appear to be nearly there and Garber will feel vindicated for giving the former LA, Manchester United and Real Madrid star extra time to figure things out in a very complex sports town. (RIP, Miami Fusion).

With MLS aggressively expanding right now, Miami was in danger of being left behind.

But with LAFC launching in 2018, two more MLS expansion franchises set to be announced in the next month and Miami now looking likely, MLS will soon grow to 26 teams with another two teams expected to be announced before 2020 to reach the stated league target of 28.

Pinch yourself soccer fans in Miami. This appears to be happening.

Hopeful third-tier league NISA announces first 8 markets

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The National Independent Soccer Association has announced the first eight markets involved in its chase for Division III soccer sanctioning from U.S. Soccer.

Charlotte, Chattanooga, Connecticut, Miami, Milwaukee, Omaha, Phoenix, and St. Louis will be the markets applying to open play in Spring 2018. The league says it has 15 letters of intent, with the other seven markets opting to wait until the 2019 season to begin play.

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The league’s use of the word “applicants” is very loose, as its experienced organizers would not let the possibility of “no” get mixed into an initial release.

NISA will be owned by the teams and run by organizers Peter Wilt and Jack Cummings, and the teams will need to pay six-figure expansion fees to fund the league.

Wilt and Cummins are behind an NASL bid for Chicago, and Wilt helped build MLS side Chicago Fire and is on the club’s Ring of Fire. Cummins is an executive who ran the Chicago Red Stars women’s team, and both men work for a sports advisory firm called Club 9 Sports.

At least one of the aforementioned markets is a known entity from other leagues, NPSL side Miami United, and Chattanooga FC may have a team in the league though there are conflicting reports (A supporters account says yes, the club’s co-founder says there will be an NPSL side no matter what).

Wilt pitched Division II NASL and perceived Division IV NPSL on helping to organize NISA, in the hopes that NISA would eventually become a middle cog in three-tier promotion/relegation.

St. Louis, Phoenix, and Charlotte have USL sides, and Miami has a team in the NASL.

Sean Flynn, the CEO of Miami FC in the NASL, has been an outspoken proponent of pro/rel and is supportive of the idea even with a team in his market.

Garber: MLS in Miami close, league cap is 28 teams

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Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber shared some expansion team news in his pre-All Star Game news conference on Wednesday.

Garber said David Beckham’s Miami project had made strong moves toward a summer announcement, and that the group has a new majority owner in Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly.

If you’re scratching your head and saying, “Didn’t MLS already announce that Miami would get an expansion team?“, well, time is a flat circle.

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Garber also said MLS will only add four more expansion teams, which is a baffling without further explanation.

How can the United States and Canada be capped at 28 top-flight teams? We know Garber is against promotion/relegation, but capping the number of MLS teams essentially guarantees that rival leagues will strengthen and grow.

UPDATE: Garber said on the FS1 broadcast that the cap was “28 in my tenure” as commish in order to focus on nurturing the markets who have just birthed franchises.

Maybe that doesn’t bother Garber, but it should concern his owners. Let’s say MLS adds four top USL or NASL teams as “expansion” sides, and we’ll pinpoint FC Cincinnati, Nashville FC, Sacramento Republic, and Indy Eleven (Please please please don’t be upset if I left your team out of the discussion, these were simply the first ones that leapt to mind).

That means that Garber would be willing to leave some massive markets out in the cold: Detroit, San Diego, San Antonio, North Carolina, to name a few. Not smart, not probable, not happening.

More likely? His original cap was 24 teams, so it’s almost certain that he’s simply trying to keep desperation and exclusivity the name of the game. He’s a smart businessman and marketer. It’s probably as simple as that.

David Beckham’s MLS ownership group has Miami land sale approved

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As expected, David Beckham’s ownership group now has all the land required to build a stadium for his Miami MLS team.

A $9 million purchase has been approved byMiami-Dade County Commissioners for a three-acre plot by, giving Beckham the full nine-acre plot required for the stadium complex. The final piece of the puzzle came down Tuesday when the approval was given, totalling $19 million that the ownership group has paid for the land.

The Miami Herald reported last week that the approval would go through.

Beckham’s group finally has a plot for the stadium four years after they were granted a spot in Major League Soccer. Plans for a stadium in Port Miami and in Little Havana were both soundly rejected before the current spot in Overtown.

“I will tell you this is probably the best site we have found, for many respects,” Beckham group attorney Neisen Kasdin said unsurprisingly. Meanwhile, a county commissioner who voted to approve the sale called the land “an eyesore for years” and declared “something needs to be done with it.”

Still, questions persist, with little space available for on-site parking. Kasdin cited proximity to public transport as a positive for their approved location.

With MLS expansion to 28 teams planned by 2020, there’s still plenty of room in the league for a Miami franchise, but they’ll need to hurry on construction for an entry date in 2019, following Los Angeles FC.