When David Beckham came to Major League Soccer in a landmark deal in 2007, he expressed a great desire to help grow the game of soccer in America. In the time since, MLS has grown from 13 teams to 19 with six thriving expansion teams joining the league and two more to come in 2015.
Now, Beckham is getting in the expansion game himself, as MLS announced on Wednesday that the English soccer legend has exercised an option in his original MLS contract for an expansion team and he will place that team in Miami.
“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 in a statement from the league. “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.”
While no launch date was given, the primary goal now is to procure a deal for a world-class soccer stadium in South Florida for the Miami club and Beckham has pledged that he will not seek public funding for the construction of the stadium. Once a stadium agreement is reached, Miami will be added to the league with its high-profile owner.
“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.”
CHICAGO ADDS JOYA
MLS added another U.S. Youth international on Wednesday as Benji Joya left Santos Laguna on loan to the Chicago Fire, who won a weighted lottery for the 20-year-old midfielder.
Chicago beat out Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake for Joya, who signed with Santos Laguna in 2012, playing in four Liga MX appearances and two Copa MX matches.
A prominent member of the U.S. U-20 National Team, Joya had four goals in 19 matches at the youth level.
VANCOUVER BOLSTERS ATTACK
Whitecaps FC felt the sting of losing 2013 MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo, but look to soften that blow with the addition of two Uruguayan forwards in Sebastian Fernandez and Nicolas Mezquida.
Fernandez, 24, comes on loan from Jaguares de Chiapas in Mexico after a prior loan to Universitario in Peru. Mezquida, 22, featured for the Uruguay U-17 National Team, scoring in one of his three appearances in the 2009 U-17 World Cup. He makes the jump from second-division Boston River in Uruguay.