In what was hardly a surprise in the end, MLS announced Wednesday that David Beckham has exercised his option for an expansion franchise and chosen Miami as the city for the new club.
The next step for Beckham and his ownership group is to finalize a stadium deal, which will be required in order to be granted the team. No details were announced regarding a name or start date.
Beckham, the league’s first designated player, will become the first former MLS player to own a team in the league. His ownership group will be finalized over the next few months, but will including his business partner Simon Fuller.
Here are some quotes from the news release:
“We appreciate all that David has done as a player, an ambassador and as a global icon to help grow Major League Soccer. 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.” — Don Garber, MLS commissioner
“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. 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
“Miami is a unique melting pot of cultures that is brought together by one common thread, soccer. During the last several months there has been palpable excitement in our city when people talk about the possibility of a Beckham-owned team. Today’s announcement is celebrated across Miami.” — Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Mayor
“I can remember so well my discussions with David back in 2007. The vision was for David to play in America and to help the sport that he loves to grow in popularity. It was central to our plans that one day David would own his own team. Here we are, February 2014 in Miami, the dream is now a reality and the commitment to grow the sport that he loves continues.” — Fuller