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Miami commissioners delay vote on Beckham soccer deal

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MIAMI (AP) Miami city commissioners have pushed back a vote following hours of public comment for and against David Beckham’s latest soccer stadium plan.

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At the end of Thursday’s meeting, commissioners delayed a decision until Wednesday to put a measure on the November ballot to replace the city-owned Melreese Country Club.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star and business partner Jorge Mas pitched their current plan Thursday night for their Major League Soccer franchise. The group’s latest proposal calls for a 28,000-seat stadium, hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, a new park and public soccer fields near Miami International Airport.

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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 (30 hectares) at the Melreese site.

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.

Griezmann aspires to play with Usain Bolt, join Beckham Miami side

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While Antoine Griezmann is currently in the prime of his career with one of the world’s top sides, the Frenchman has aspirations to play in the United States one day.

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More and more international talents have become open to joining MLS over recent years after seeing the likes of David Villa, Robbie Keane and Sebastian Giovinco have such success in the top American league.

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Griezmann, 25, has stated that while he doesn’t see his European career concluding in the near future that he does wish to play in Miami for David Beckham’s side once the club is established in MLS.

“I love the States. I want to have an NBA season ticket, and go and watch each game with my children. I already see myself there,” said Griezmann, whose Atletico contract runs through to 2021. “I don’t know which city yet, but why not in Beckham’s franchise in Miami. It would be the best to play under Beckham.”

Beckham’s Miami project currently sits in line as MLS’ 24th franchise, however, talks have been quiet for some time regarding the expansion side’s future.

Griezmann has also become enamored with the idea of playing with Jamaican track star Usain Bolt, who has expressed his desire to attempt to mount a professional soccer career.

Bolt has had the opportunity to train with both Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund, however, with the 30-year-old still an active international track runner it remains to be seen whether or not the Jamaican would actually devote his full time to playing soccer.

Both athletes are sponsored by Puma, and Griezmann says Bolt would certainly be an exciting player to watch on his current Atletico side.

“Play against him, no, but with him, yes! I would like him to play up front with me just behind to knock balls deep for him,” Griezmann said. “I’d leave him all alone with the goalkeeper. I saw that he’s trained a bit with Dortmund and Manchester United.

“Speed isn’t everything, but he’d be a great striker at Atletico. Usain Bolt would be perfect for our game. Me behind and him up front. The best!”

State of the League: Garber addresses expansion, Beckham Miami and more

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As Major League Soccer gears up for Saturday night’s massive final in Toronto, league commissioner Don Garber addressed the media in the buildup with his annual State of the League address on Friday.

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Among the topics discussed were expansion, the demise of NASL and what MLS is doing to attract younger players to United States.

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As it has been in the past, expansion was the biggest discussion on the docket, with Garber stating that next week will likely determine a timeline for the league’s next entries.

“As you probably know it is strategic expansion,” Garber said during Friday’s MLS State of the League address. “Following our board meeting on Thursday in New York, we will announce a process and a timeline for our next round of expansion, which will add clubs 25, 26, 27 and 28 to Major League Soccer.”

David Beckham’s Miami franchise is currently tabbed as the league’s 24th entry, following Minnesota and Atlanta in 2017 and Los Angeles FC in 2018, however, the future of Beckham’s project remains very much up in the air.

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In the event that Miami is passed over, there are plenty of teams waiting in the wings to claim its spot. Sacramento, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Detroit and San Diego are among the many destinations currently vying for entry into MLS, however, Sacramento and Cincinnati remain very high on the list after seeing recent success and growth in USL.

“There is a deadline on the Miami deal. I am not going to share that deadline, it is an agreement we have with David and (his business partner) Simon Fuller,” Garber said in regards to the Miami plans.

“But … we need to resolve the Miami situation so that we can go forward with our expansion plans for (expansion) teams 25-28 because they are team 24 and if they are not going to be 24 there are going to be a lot of things that need to move around and it is something we will discuss at our board meeting.”

When Garber was asked about the decline of NASL and particularly the status of the New York Cosmos and whether MLS would ever consider allowing the franchise to join, he stated that the league has no intentions of adding a third New York/New Jersey team.

“As it relates to the Cosmos, it’s a great brand,” said Garber. “We have two teams in MLS in New York. We are not going to have a third team.”

Additionally, Garber also noted that the league has no intentions of changing the MLS playoff format or adding an additional Designated Player spot for each club’s disposal. However, the commissioner did confirm that teams will see an increase of $400,000 each in target allocation money (TAM) in 2017, bringing the total per club up to $1.2 million.

Beckham group abandons latest plans for Miami MLS stadium

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All signs seemed to point toward an all-too-familiar outcome for the David Beckham-led investment group hoping to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to the city of Miami: another failed plan in their bid to build a brand new stadium.

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Earlier this month, newly-joined all-world sports executive Tim Leiweke warned that groups or individuals currently owning the various parcels of land surrounding the Miami Marlins’ baseball stadium, the latest site Miami Beckham United (MBU) had chosen, were making “unrealistic” demands and threatened to derail the project at that location.

Today, it’s been reported across South Florida that the group has altogether abandoned plans to build their stadium at that particular site. Miami city commissioner Francis Suarez confirmed that MBU were “moving in a different direction” — quotes from Local 10 News:

“It’s going to be withdrawn from the next agenda because the Beckham group has not acquired the private properties that are needed to construct the stadium on that site.”

“The residents expect us to hold these teams to the fire,” Suarez said. “A lot of times they’re financed by wealthy people and they want some sort of a public subsidy, which is very controversial as well, which is why we were going to take it to referendum.”

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On Sunday, during halftime of the league’s Eastern Conference final, MLS commissioner Don Garber was asked about the Miami stadium situation, to which he responded, “We think Miami will be a great market. We found a reasonably good site. I’m confident that we’ll get something done there.”

MBU is reportedly being held to something of a deadline by the MLS board of governors, which meets every year ahead of MLS Cup, with this weekend’s sit-down thought of as a target date to have something concrete going forward. Meanwhile, Sacramento Republic FC, an MLS expansion hopeful currently playing in the USL (third division), announced last week they would be moving forward with building their brand new MLS-sized stadium, expansion bid or not.