Miami Beckham United

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Beckham group unveils (another) new Miami stadium, park design


1,614 days after David Beckham announced he intended to bring an MLS expansion franchise to Miami, Beckham still has every intention in the world of doing so as he and his group of potential owners unveiled on Sunday the first images of a(nother) proposed stadium complex — Miami Freedom Park — this time, near Miami International Airport.

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Beckham and his (latest) business partners — the Mas brothers, Jorge and Jose — have been silent in recent months over their next attempt at securing a stadium deal after a series of failed attempts, involving Beckham and a number of his now-former co-owners.

Beckham and Jorge Mas are expected to unveil their detailed proposal at the Miami City Commission meeting on Thursday.

Beckham’s latest Miami stadium plan targets golf course

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MIAMI (AP) David Beckham’s latest soccer plan for Miami might be decided by the city’s voters.

His target: a golf course.

Beckham is scheduled to appear before the Miami city commission next week as he and his partners aim to move closer to picking a stadium location for their Major League Soccer franchise. The Beckham group’s latest proposal calls for a 28,000-seat stadium on the site of what is now the Melreese Country Club, a public golf course owned by the city that sits near Miami International Airport.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

If commissioners approve, voters would decide on Nov. 6 whether to change the city’s charter and allow what would be a no-bid deal to lease 73 acres at the Melreese site to the group. The deal Beckham is proposing calls for the city to collect nearly $140 million in rent payments over 39 years, a rate of roughly $3.5 million annually.

Beckham’s group would pay an additional $20 million over 30 years to help fund a planned 58-acre park on the site.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star and business partner Jorge Mas are listed on the city’s agenda for the July 12 meeting, described as scheduled to make a “personal appearance” and “special presentation.” They will ask commissioners to put the measure before voters, though it’s certain that not everyone at the meeting will be supporting the idea.

Petitions are circulating to save the course, where Tiger Woods has appeared for clinics in the past. Longtime LPGA star Cristie Kerr, a Miami native, has voiced opposition to the Melreese plan in recent months, as has fellow Miami native pro Erik Compton.

“Please help protect this beautiful green space, this public golf course and this home to amazing youth programs,” Compton wrote on Twitter .

Beckham’s group also wants to bring a massive technology park to the site, as well as an underground parking facility, public soccer fields, 500 new hotel rooms, a conference center, retail stores, restaurants and more. The Beckham franchise, when it gets going, will also bring a training center and an academy focused on developing local players to the Miami area.

The stadium-location quest is just the latest drawn-out chapter in Beckham’s five-years-and-counting marathon to bring MLS back to Miami. The Miami Fusion played from 1998-2001, folding because of poor attendance.

Beckham and MLS announced in January that the franchise would be coming to Miami, but nearly every detail about the club remains unclear. There’s no definitive start date – 2020 has been mentioned repeatedly, even though no new stadium could possibly be ready by then – as well as no team name, no logo, no colors, no coaching staff and no front-office personnel.

More than a year ago, Miami-Dade County commissioners approved a deal to sell Beckham nearly three acres of county land for $9 million with the belief that it would be the last parcel he needed for a stadium site in the city’s Overtown neighborhood. But that site was never the preferred choice for Beckham and his group anyway, with the original hope being to build on the waterfront near the Port of Miami.

The Overtown site now seems all but doomed, though it’s unclear what would happen if city commissioners or voters block the latest Beckham plan.

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.

Garber believes Beckham’s influence as owner will help MLS grow further

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All indications point to a Miami team joining Major League Soccer over the next few years, and the club’s owner — David Beckham — could help propel the league further, according to MLS commissioner Don Garber.

[ MORE: CONCACAF roundup — Mexico qualifies for World Cup ]

While the original plans for Beckham’s Miami club were to join MLS in 2018, it seems as though the expansion side is finally nearing the opportunity to join the United States’ top division.

The 42-year-old has been considered a “transformational” player by Garber and many others for completing a move to MLS years ago, which sparked many other European and foreign players to do the same and ultimately help grow the league.

“I’m a big believer that just because you are a professional athlete doesn’t mean you don’t have the capabilities to be a good sports team owner,” Garber said of Beckham. “It’s actually the other way round.

“Coming up with the game and understanding the intricacies of it, I think a guy like David would be a fantastic owner.

“He’s a very bright guy, very committed to our country and our league, very committed to the city of Miami.

“I think if we can get things closed then it will be a great success and it will be great to have him as an owner. He was a great player for us.”

Garber continued, by stating that Beckham’s inclusion in MLS really helped the league reach new heights, and he can do the same as an owner.

“Wayne Gretzky was a transformational figure for the National Hockey League,” Garber said. “Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were transformational players who took the NBA from what it was to what it is today in many ways.

“David was today for us, where we are now, that transformational player.

“He was our Michael Jordan, our Wayne Gretzky. He was the guy who came here and basically said: ‘It’s okay, this league is all right — it’s not the Premier League, but that’s okay.’

Report: Beckham ownership group secures key political endorsement for stadium site

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David Beckham’s potential Major League Soccer franchise in Miami is closer to becoming a reality.

According to a report from the Miami Herald, Beckham’s Miami Beckham United ownership group locked up pivotal backing from Miami-Dade County commissioner Audrey Edmonson, which is expected to clear the way for Beckham to purchase the last plot of land the ownership group needs to build its soccer-specific stadium.

Edmonson represents Overtown, where the stadium is to be located, and she required Beckham and his group to come and pitch the stadium to local residents before she would endorse it.

Edmonson is now sponsoring legislation that would have Beckham’s group purchase a three-acre truck depot in Overtown for around $9 million. The ownership group had already purchased a six-acre plot next to the truck depot from a private owner for $19 million.

Beckham and MLS held their infamous announcement together that Beckham was exercising his franchise-purchase option on February 5, 2014 but since then it’s been a series of proposals and setbacks for Beckham’s team. Proposals to build stadiums in PortMiami and in Little Havana were roundly decried and ultimately rejected by Miami-Dade county.

Eventually, Beckham’s team settled on the Overtown site, though they had to make some concessions, including purchasing the land at market value and giving up the possibility of having on-site parking among others. The stadium will fit snugly into the Overtown neighborhood, with fans having to travel in by train, walking or parking in nearby lots and getting shuttled in.

MLS plans to expand to 28 teams by 2020 and is currently holding the 24th expansion slot for Beckham’s potential franchise in Miami. With the league at 22 teams currently, Los Angeles FC will enter in 2019 with Beckham’s franchise potentially entering in 2019 or 2020 should the stadium receive approval and groundbreaking begin.