Jan. 29, 2018; Miami, Fla.; Fans hold signs with the likeness of MLS team owner David Beckham as they wait outside prior to the expansion announcement at Adrienne Arsht Center. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
MIAMI – It took almost two decades and plenty of headaches for David Beckham, but Major League Soccer is back in South Florida at long last.
Beckham got the news that he and his ownership group waited four years for, as MLS announced Monday that his expansion franchise has approval to launch in 2020. The club’s debut season in MLS, team name, logo and staff will be announced in the future, according to a statement released by the league.
“People say wherever you are, wherever you come from in the world – this is a city that’s built on dreams,” Beckham said during the event. “Today, you made my dream come true. Thank you Miami.”
The ownership group consists of Beckham, Bolivian billionaire and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, Japanese billionaire and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, local entrepreneurs Jorge and Jose R. Mas, and entertainment businessman Simon Fuller.
Beckham initially announced plans to launch a soccer team in Miami on Feb. 5, 2014. The retired midfielder and global icon ran into several roadblocks with regards to finding a site to build a privately financed soccer-specific stadium, but progress has been made on a space in Overtown, a neighborhood just northwest of downtown Miami.
The league’s decision to return to Miami comes 16 years after MLS contracted the Fusion, which played from 1998-2001, based further north in Fort Lauderdale.
“David, I can now officially say: Welcome to Miami,” mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos A. Gimenez, said.
Beckham’s Miami franchise now gives MLS 25 clubs following the late 2017 announcement of future expansion into Nashville. One more city will be given a team later this year, and the candidates in the running are Cincinnati, Detroit, and Sacramento. Two more expansion markets will then be chosen from a larger group of hopefuls, eventually bringing the league a total of 28 clubs.