Beckham eyes European stars after securing Miami MLS franchise
David Beckham's dream of becoming a football club owner is finally a reality after his consortium was granted a licence for an MLS franchise in Miami.
MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the news at a media conference on Monday, concluding a journey Beckham embarked upon in February 2014 when he exercised an option to own an expansion team that was included in his LA Galaxy contract back in 2007.
Futbol Miami's debut season in MLS is yet to be finalised but Beckham is targeting the 2020 campaign and hopes to bring in major names from European football, while cultivating youth talent.
"I've had many phone calls from many different, top players saying: 'I'm in'," said the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, which featured a boisterous bunch of Miami supporters chanting his name.
It's official! MLS is coming to Miami. pic.twitter.com/NSrEFeixu2-- Major League Soccer (@MLS) January 29, 2018
"Yes, we want to build a team and bring in top players from Europe but the thing we are most interested in is the homegrown talent.
"We will bring a state of the art academy. I've seen that when you bring homegrown kids into a team like this, that is when a community is built and you are proud of your team.
"Then they go on and represent their countries. That is when we will sit back and say: 'Job done.' That is when we will be proud of our team."
Sealing planning permission for a home stadium proved a major stumbling block until Beckham's group finalised a project last year that will see a 25,000-seat arena built in Miami's urban core, while it is hoped the team can capitalise upon the area's sizable Latino population.
Beckham spoke after a video of celebrities and sports stars, including Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Brady, Neymar and Usain Bolt, wishing Futbol Miami well.
"This is something that has been a dream for many, many years. It's a sport that I've loved for many, many years," he said.
"Bringing an MLS club to Miami was a hell of a journey. I joined LA Galaxy in 2007 because I realised the potential in this league.
"I moved from Real Madrid to a pretty young league and a league that wasn't fully established yet.
"I want to thank commissioner Garber because he explained the plan of this league and where he wanted to take it. I was in from day one.
"I promise you the team we are bringing to this league will be one of the best teams - the best team."