WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2014 — After months of rumors and speculation, soccer superstar David Beckham has officially outlined his plans to own a new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.
Beckham made the announcement on Wednesday with MLS commissioner Don Garber, who said it was an “historic day” for the league. Beckham would be the first player from MLS to own a team.
The former England captain, who won two titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2007-2012, said he would build a world class stadium for club in Miami.
“I want to make this my own team,” Beckham told the media.
Beckham had an option to buy an MLS team as part of the agreement he signed when he joined the Galaxy in 2007 in a five-year, $250 million deal.
Florida was originally home to the MLS team, the Miami Fusion, but the club folded after four seasons in 2001.
Beckham and his team of investors, which includes his friend “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller and Bolivian telecommunications tycoon Marcelo Claure, have looked at numerous sites around Miami to build a 25,000-seat stadium and have narrowed in on five potential locations in the downtown area.
Beckham is said to be worth $300 million and earns about $50 million per year.
There have been reports that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star will also recruit many of his friends from the entertainment and sports industry as investors, including Jay-Z, Beyonce and Lebron James.
“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,” Beckham said in a released statement. “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.”
The team in Miami would be the 22nd club in MLS which began operations in 1996. The league currently has 19 teams and clubs in New York City and Orlando, Fla., have already signed up to join in 2015.
Beckham had a profound impact on MLS as a player. There were 12 teams when he arrived in 2007 and 19 when he left. His move to MLS from Real Madrid inspired investor s and players to join up with the league.
John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for over 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon