Wednesday, March 12, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
SOUTH BEACH SOCCER: Former England soccer star David Beckham responds to a question following a news conference where he announced Wednesday he will exercise his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami.
“People here love this sport,” Garber said. “We together have no doubt it will be a very successful MLS team.”
Beckham said he also wants to start a children’s soccer academy in Miami. Shareholders in the team will include Beckham’s business partner Simon Fuller, the “American Idol” creator who is the driving force in franchise negotiations, and Marcelo Claure, president and CEO of Brightstar Corp.
Beckham said he’ll finalize his group of investors over the next couple of months. He declined to say what players he would like to bring to the team.
“We have a list,” he said. “We want to bring some of the best players in football to Miami to play on this team. I’ve seen what happens to teams when you bring great players in. I’m talking about the Heat.”
That brought cheers from the crowd. James and the Heat have won the past two NBA titles.
Beckham laughingly ruled out hiring his former manager, Alex Ferguson, to coach the team, but said he has ideas regarding that search, as well.
“I kind of know what makes a great coach and what doesn’t,” he said. “We’ll have a good coach here.”
Beckham praised the growth in recent of years of MLS and said he’s optimistic about the league’s direction. Regular-season attendance increased from an average of 15,504 in 2006 to a record 18,807 in 2012 before dropping slightly this season to 18,594.
“I’ve seen the change in this league,” Beckham said. “I’ve seen the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona come over to America. They want to play against the MLS teams. They’re interested in this league, and that’s what’s changing.”