By DAN KARELL
Major League Soccer’s return to Miami could be just around the corner.
Even though David Beckham and his ownership group missed an agreed deadline with MLS of Dec. 31 for officially joining the league, MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed at the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday that although the league isn’t ready to declare Miami as the newest MLS franchise, there should be an announcement on Beckham’s future expansion plans within the next 30 days.
“I was down there this past weekend, and I’ve been down there a lot, working with potential ownership and trying to finalize a stadium plan.” Garber told members of the press at the draft. ”Right now, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ll announce something in early February.”
Beckham, who retired from play last May after a half-season with Paris Saint-Germain, has quietly been courting a number of high-profile celebrities and entrepreneurs to join his ownership group for a new MLS franchise. Previous reports have indicated that Beckham has decided on Miami as the location for the future club and he’s currently considering multiple sites including one at the Port of Miami.
The former LA Galaxy star was given a cut-rate $25 million entry fee as part of his original contract upon joining MLS if he wanted to become an investor-operator in the league when he retired. Beckham is currently working with his manager Simon Fuller and billionaire Miami resident Marcelo Claure on securing a stadium site and funding.
In December, Miami-Dade County officials approved a resolution allowing Beckham’s ownership group to negotiate for a stadium to be build. The latest reports have suggested that Beckham’s group has identified a plot of land in the Southwest corner of the Port of Miami and using county land to build a 25,000 seat soccer-specific stadium.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen,” Garber said last December. “We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That’s an indisputable fact. We can’t have different rules in Miami than we have in any other city.
“We want to do as much as we can to work with David and Simon Fuller to get something done as quickly as we can.”
What do you think of this news? Do you think Beckham can secure a stadium site in 30 days? Do you expect the league to award Miami with an expansion franchise by this summer.