David Beckham knows the old saying ''you only have one chance
to make a first impression'', and that is exactly what he wants to do with his
MLS franchise in Miami. Beckham plans on using his friendship to lure former Manchester United
teammate and now Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to Florida.
There is plenty of time to get a deal done as a stadium still needs to be built with a game plan of the 22nd MLS club to be competing in the league by 2017. An MLS source speaking to the British daily tabloid Sun newspaper said: ''Becks understands the need for a big, big name in the team when it gets going.
''And none come bigger than Ronaldo — the world’s greatest player. Ronaldo loves America and all that it offers. It’s not a secret he has thought about finishing his career here, about living here — so a deal like this could be perfect for him. It is a long way off yet — we’re talking 2017 — but it clearly demonstrates the ambition of the Beckham franchise.
''We're planning to bring a team that will be a global team. I want to create a team that we can start from scratch and I am going to work hard for this city to make this team very successful. It is an exciting time. I have worked with some of the biggest clubs and greatest players and this is a dream.''
Despite Beckham’s desire to sign a big fish like Ronaldo, he will have to come up with plenty of cash after the 28-year-old just signed a new five-year deal with Los Blancos back in September.
All the talk this past week in Major League Soccer has been about David Beckham’s new Miami franchise. It’s truly an exciting announcement for American soccer and one that has some serious upside potential. And it seems only fitting that Becks is the face doesn’t it?
While announcing the new franchise, Beckham told USA Today that he’d like the stadium of the new Miami franchise to be downtown. “Soccer fans love to walk to games, that's part of the tradition." That’s all well and good but what is he really saying here?
Upon further examination, Beckham appears to be saying one thing and is certainly guilty of doing just the opposite.
Beckham was born in Leytonstone. If the Leyton part seems familiar, it's because Leyton is the home and name of Leyton Orient, a side that has survived in the bottom three divisions of the English league without fanfare, despite living in the shadows of West Ham United. Young Beckham even had trials with them. He grew up in the Chingford area where West Ham draw a great deal of their support from. That part of Essex is West Ham territory.
During his early upbringing in London, his grandfather favored Tottenham Hotspur. You see, White Hart Lane may have been within walking distance for the Beckhams but Manchester was quite a trek indeed. Approximately 211 miles by car to be exact. His parents, both Londoners, were fanatical Manchester United supporters who would frequently travel to Old Trafford from London to attend the team's home matches so it is easy to understand how David inherited his parents' love of the Red Devils.
He inherited eschewing the values of locality and community from his parents when he made the very first big decision a young Englishman makes by himself; which football team to follow. That's fair enough. There are Manchester United fans all over the planet with no connections to the City of Manchester.
There's one difference between Beckham and them. They are not asking every other citizen to be locally loyal so that they make money.
Is a man who followed his parents' passions over local ties, also the man to ask Floridians, many of whose recent ancestors come from afar, to do the exact opposite? It was an unnecessary arrow to fire from Beckham and indicates that he seems to have whitewashed or at least forgotten his own past while traveling through the constant and frequent re shapings of his own brand.
“What does loyalty mean to David Beckham? Not much, one imagines.
As his lawyers negotiate an early end to his contract with LA Galaxy, where he is only two years into a five-year deal apparently worth £128m ($209m) and signed amid a flurry of promises, Beckham is coming under fire from supporters of the MLS club, who believe that they were sold season tickets for the coming campaign, which starts on 19 March, on the promise of his continued presence.”
David Beckham's new team in Miami will not take to the pitch until at least 2017, the billionaire investor in the ambitious project says, dashing hopes of an earlier start.
Bolivian entrepreneur Marcelo Claure, a major partner in Beckham's move into football ownership, said there was simply too much to do in building a club from top to bottom.
There had been high hopes among Miami's football-starved community - which has not had a top-level soccer team for more than a decade - that the as-yet-unnamed franchise might be ready in 2016.
"Three years, three years, 2017. That's the idea if it all works out like we hope," said Claure, after Beckham confirmed football's worst-kept secret Wednesday and said he was bringing football back to Miami.
Beckham, Claure and their ownership team - which also includes British pop music and television impresario Simon Fuller - reportedly paid $25 million for the Major League Soccer franchise.
"Three years is the objective because we're creating a soccer team from scratch," Claure told reporters.
"We have to pick coaches, we have to involve the community, we have to pick a name, pick a jersey, we have to convince big-name players to come play for us."
David Beckham has been told he faces "the biggest challenge in sports" in trying to resurrect a football team in Miami -- from the manager of the club that folded.
Ray Hudson was in charge of the Miami Fusion, which went under more than a decade ago after failing to capture the imagination of a Miami public that already has the best NBA team in the land.
"It's the biggest challenge in sports I can imagine," said Hudson, a former Newcastle United player who was manager of the Fusion from 2000 to 2001. The club was dissolved the same year.
"With the history of sports in this area, it's sufficient to put anyone off. The bling of Beckham is not going to be enough. It's not going to be," he told reporters after Beckham confirmed Wednesday that he was to build a Major League Soccer team in the city.
"He fully recognizes that... He's going to have to build a great chain of people. All the right people with the right credentials. The best of the best."
Hudson, who is now a football commentator in the United States, told the MLS official website: "The allure of Miami is like the call of the sirens. He's got to be like Jason and the Argonauts in his search for the golden fleece. This is what Beckham is going to have to be. It just has to be flawless, basically."
Beckham's ambitious franchise, which is not expected to take to the field until 2016 at the earliest, is the third attempt at making a football team work in south Florida.
Before the Fusion, there was the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, which is no longer in the top US league.
"This area has been wounded in the past and they don't forget," said Hudson. "But this is another generation from the Strikers and the Fusion. Those fans are virtually grandparents now.
"These kids today are dying to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and who knows who Beckham will bring in. It'll be someone from that clout. It's not going to be enough.
"It's got to be more. The rest of the links of the chain have to be strong and they have a chance."
Former Premier League player and current stateside commentator Ray Hudson knows a thing or two about elite
soccer and the city of Miami. So when he says that David Beckham – who has
faced some hefty challenges in his career, faces his biggest challenge yet in
Miami, we should take notice.
Former Miami-resident Hudson recently
said "it's the biggest challenge in sports I can imagine” after he had failed to
succeed with the Miami Fusion as manager from 2000-2001 – the year
that the club dissolved.
"With the history of sports in this area, it's sufficient to put anyone off,” Hudson continued “the bling of Beckham is not going to be enough . . . he's going to have to build a great chain of people - all the right people with the right credentials. The best of the best." he told reporters.
And Beckham clearly has the ambition to do so.
"LeBron is a friend so we speak as friends about what we're doing, but he's a great businessman as well," said Beckham. "If LeBron comes on, that'd be amazing because people love him in the city and people love him in sports.
"He's not just a great sportsman but he's a great man as well, and someone that does a lot outside the game as well.
"So to have him involved would be a good thing.”
Major League Soccer today announced that David Beckham has exercised his option for an MLS expansion team, and he has selected Miami as the city for the new club. Beckham’s ownership group will now work with MLS and local officials to finalize a deal for a world-class soccer stadium.
“We appreciate all that David has done as a player, an ambassador and as a global icon to help grow Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “We are thrilled that he will be an owner, and we look forward to him helping us achieve our goal of being one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”
“From the beginning of my career in England to today in Miami, my journey has always been driven by my incredible passion for the game,” said Beckham. “Miami is a vibrant, diverse community that thrives on the same type of energy that fuels the international appeal of soccer, and I look forward to a dedicated, long-term partnership with this dynamic city and Major League Soccer. My experience with the Galaxy is what convinced me that I wanted to one day own an MLS team and it is thrilling to now see that dream coming true.”
Beckham became Major League Soccer’s first Designated Player in 2007, and led the LA Galaxy to two MLS Cup titles during his six seasons in the league. During his time with the Galaxy, Major League Soccer experienced explosive growth, adding seven expansion teams and nine soccer stadiums. Beckham finished his career with another championship in 2013 with Paris St. Germain, ending a 20-year playing career that saw him star for Manchester United, Real Madrid and A.C. Milan, as well as England’s national team. Beckham will become the first former MLS player to own a team in the league.
One of the most international markets in the world, South Florida is the largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States with a proven and passionate fan base for soccer. During the last few years, multiple crowds of more than 60,000 per game have attended soccer international matches in South Florida.