Beckham’s Inter Miami plans to sign players this summer

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) The expansion Major League Soccer team owned in part by David Beckham plans to start signing players this summer and will select its first coach later this year.

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Inter Miami, which says it will begin play in March 2020 and that an 18,000-seat stadium in Fort Lauderdale will be ready by then, has narrowed its coaching search to three finalists. Managing owner Jorge Mas declined to reveal names, and only suggested the hire would be done by September or October.

“They have international experience,” Mas said.

Beckham was not present Wednesday for what was billed as a demolition ceremony on the site of Lockhart Stadium, where Miami’s first MLS team played from 1998 through 2001. Team and local political officials even hit a “button” as if to trigger a detonation, though the only thing coming down Wednesday was a boarded-up ticket booth that was ripped apart by a backhoe.

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Lockhart will be demolished later, and Mas said parts of the stadium that will be put in its place are already being built off-site.

“We’ll be getting foundations done in July, we’ll be erecting the steel in October and hopefully it’ll be finished in February,” Mas said.

The team won the right last year to negotiate with the city of Miami toward building a soccer and business complex near Miami International Airport, on the site of what’s now a golf course. Mas said he expects legal progress toward a deal there to occur in the next “60 to 90 days” and again insisted that the plan is for the team to play in Fort Lauderdale for only its first two seasons.