David Beckham

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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.

Fort Lauderdale says Beckham can demolish Lockhart Stadium, build anew

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) David Beckham’s planned Major League Soccer stadium in South Florida is another step closer to reality.

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The Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted Tuesday night to enter into an interim agreement with Beckham’s group, one that will allow the MLS club to demolish Lockhart Stadium as a precursor to building a stadium of its own on that plot of land.

Mayor Dean Trantalis suggested to the commission that the agreement should come with financial assurances that the Beckham group will not simply demolish the existing stadium and then walk away from the project without building something in its place. Other commissioners argued that given the extremely tight timeline – Beckham’s group wants to begin play there in less than a year – the project must be permitted to start as soon as possible.

The vote was unanimous, 5-0. Beckham’s group will have 180 days to complete the demolition.

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Beckham’s group – his team is called Inter Miami – plans to have a stadium in place on the Lockhart site in time to begin an inaugural MLS season in March 2020. Beckham has unsuccessfully tried for years to find a place to put a stadium in Miami, which is why his group announced plans last month to play its first two seasons in Fort Lauderdale.

Beckham’s team also plans to use the Lockhart site as its training center, a home for its team in the lower-tier United Soccer League and its academy programs.

The current Lockhart Stadium opened in 1959 and was the home of more than a half-dozen soccer teams, including the North American Soccer League’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers from 1977-83 and MLS’s Miami Fusion from its launch in 1998 until the team was eliminated by the league after the 2001 season.

Beckham dreams of bringing Ronaldo, Messi to MLS, Miami

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David Beckham is dreaming big for his Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.

Really big.

Hot on the heels of announcing that he hopes Inter Miami CF will play at a revamped Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale for their first two seasons in MLS, Becks has been chatting about potential players he’d like to bring to MIA.

Here is what Beckham had to say via our partners at Sky Sports:

“Everyone has their wish list, everyone does, but if you look at the way Leo and Cristiano are still playing, even at what you might think is the later stage of their careers, I don’t see it ending for them,” Beckham said. “They’re playing at such a high level that it’s hard to see them leaving the clubs they are at, but we will see. You never know what can happen in football.”

Now, we all knew this kind of talk was coming. Beckham added Inter Miami are looking closely at players to sign and are speeding things up with just 12 months until their first MLS game.

Beckham’s name has a certain pull and if he is the co-owner of a franchise it is one for reason: to make it as successful and glamorous as possible. The fact he owns a team in Miami which will enter MLS in 2020 amplifies the glitz and glamour.

Would Ronaldo and/or Messi need a lot of convincing to head to Miami for the final few years of their careers? Probs not.

But it seems like Ronaldo would be a lot more attainable than Messi. At least right now, and especially when you factor in that his contract with Juventus is up in the summer of 2022.

That should line up perfectly with the timeframe for Miami’s proposed soccer-specific stadium deal in Freedom Park being ready for Ronaldo to call it home.

Because, let’s be honest, can you see one of these guys playing in front of 18,000 fans at a temporary home at Lockhart Stadium? Yeah, not going to happen.

Ronaldo is 34. Messi is 31. Who’s to say they both won’t play for Miami three years apart? Ronaldo has already said he wants to play until he is 40, and it is highly likely he will. As for Messi, he’s been a one-club man and it is unclear whether or not he will see much point in not playing for Barcelona his entire career.

With the Man United connection, Ronaldo heading to Miami to play for Beckham makes so much sense on so many levels.

Beckham’s Inter Miami reveal temporary stadium plan

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David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF have announced that they plan to play in Fort Lauderdale for their first two seasons as a franchise.

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Inter Miami want to play at the now abandoned Lockhart Stadium and spend a combined $60 million to make it happen, bolstering previous plans from the club who had announced they wanted to build a training facility, youth academy and other community facilities on the site.

Announced via a press conference at the dilapidated venue, Beckham and fellow owner Jorge Mas said they plan to build a new 18,000 capacity stadium on the site and the team will play there for their first two seasons as an MLS franchise, in 2020 and 2021.

“We’re going to build a new stadium there,” Mas said. “It’s not a refurbishment of Lockhart. It will be a new stadium for a (second-tier) USL team and a soccer-centric academy. We’ll be able to host tournaments and other games there.”

Beckham and his wealthy ownership group have been searching for many years for a suitable stadium site in Miami but so far their numerous plans have failed to be approved across downtown Miami and surrounding neighborhoods.

Miami Freedom Park is their preferred choice of location for a permanent 25,000 capacity home, and although that process is moving along nicely, they still need a key city council vote to make the stadium close to Miami International Airport a reality.

The Lockhart Stadium plan will need backing from Fort Lauderdale City Council early next week, with a rival bid from FXE Futbol also in the running as they want to build a sports and entertainment complex.

Lockhart Stadium was of course home to the only previous MLS franchise in the area, Miami Fusion, which folded in 2001 after four seasons in the league.

Anybody who has seen Lockhart Stadium over the past few years knows that it is overgrown and the general shell of the venue has been left as it was in 2001.

With more than a little TLC, Becks and Co. won’t have to spend too much to develop the site, which sits 35 miles north of Downtown Miami. In the future it will act as a training facility, home stadium for their USL side, academy and will also have various facilities which will benefit the community. So, this is a smart play as they were looking for a training facility and home for a new USL affiliate club anyway.

That said, it is also a pretty decent fallback option if Inter Miami do not get approval to build their permanent new stadium in Freedom Park.

With the location of Lockhart Stadium blamed by many for the Miami Fusion not getting large crowds in MLS from 1998-01, and their eventual liquidation in MLS, this is a risky move for Beckham’s franchise as they aim to get big crowds and generate a real buzz around the franchise in South Florida.

Then again, with the clock ticking to their MLS entry, time is running out.

This option is probably a lot better than playing at Florida Atlantic University football stadium or Hard Rock Stadium, which are both far too large for a small, but growing, fanbase of Miami’s new MLS franchise.

PHOTOS: LA Galaxy unveil David Beckham statue

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A statue of David Beckham has been unveiled outside the LA Galaxy’s home stadium.

He is the first player in MLS history to have a statue dedicated to him.

Beckham, 43, spent five years playing for the Galaxy and his arrival in Major League Soccer will go down as one of the most important moments in its history.

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He won the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cups with LA, as he was the first-ever Designated Player in league history and that ruling was put in place in 2007 to mark a new era of superstar names arriving in MLS.

Whether you appreciated his loan spells overseas and not playing on turf pitches or not, it is hard to deny Becks’ arrival had a big impact in the visibility of MLS across the U.S. and the world. Now, this statue is a little strange as Beckham now owns an MLS franchise in Miami, Inter Miami CF, which is due to arrive in 2020, but all in all everyone was very happy at the glitzy opening ceremony.

The statue was unveiled on Sunday ahead of LA’s first game of the 2019 MLS season, as they beat the Chicago Fire 2-1 thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s winner.

Take a look below at the statue, which compared to a few others of legendary players unveiled recently (ahem, Cristiano Ronaldo…) looks pretty decent.

And I can already hear you guys squabbling in the comments section as to why Beckham is the first to get a statue ahead of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. Beckham played in 98 regular season games for the Galaxy, scoring 18 goals, and compared to Donovan and Keane his role on the pitch was not as integral. But when it comes to his impact on everything else, he deserves this kind of recognition.

Surely LD and Keane will join Beckham in being immortalized shortly…