Category: Miami


Beckham’s Miami soccer dream inches closer – but glitz is in short supply

A crucial vote from local politicians has restored life to Beckham’s stalled venture, but it’s not quite the show-stopping product he envisaged at the beginning

Barely a month ago, the final whistle was set to blow on David Beckham’s long-held dream of launching his own professional football club in Miami, the glitziest of American cities.

What was to have been a lucrative retirement project for the former England captain appeared thwarted by a series of broken stadium deals, the snail’s pace of Miami’s complicated political machinery and resistance from locals keen to block progress of Beckham’s investment group.

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David Beckham’s Miami soccer stadium land sale gets approval

  • Commissioners vote nine to four in favor of sale to Beckham’s group
  • Beckham’s looks to bring MLS to Miami in city’s Overtown district

The Miami-Dade Commission voted on Tuesday to approve a deal to sell David Beckham’s group nearly three acres of county land, representing a major hurdle cleared in the former England and Manchester United star’s push to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city.

The commissioners voted nine to four in favor to ratify a recommendation by the mayor to sell Beckham’s partnership a county truck-depot at the corner of Northwest Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue, which would become the last piece in a nine-acre site for a planned 25,000-seat stadium on the Miami River.

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‘This is our last chance’ says Beckham group ahead of MLS Miami stadium vote

Former England skipper now has $500m investment in place, but still needs local approval on the stadium plot required to secure MLS franchise

David Beckham’s protracted bid to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami now rests on the fate of a small plot of disused, contaminated, county-owned land.

Tim Leiweke, Beckham’s top negotiator, this week told residents in the Overtown district where it plans to build a 25,000-seat arena “this is the last chance to get a stadium or soccer team”.

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José Fernandez death: autopsy finds cocaine and alcohol in pitcher’s system

  • Miami Marlins pitcher, 24, died in boating accident on 25 September
  • Medical examiner reports that Fernandez suffered blunt force injuries

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had cocaine and alcohol in his system when his boat crashed into a Miami Beach jetty, according to toxicology reports released on Saturday.

Related: Marlins’ José Fernández posthumously named NL Comeback Player of the Year

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José Fernández: a smiling star whose death leaves baseball bereft

The Marlins pitcher is dead at the age of 24. It is a tragedy made all the more painful after the adversity he had overcome in his short life

This is the year my son fell in love with baseball and for reasons that are still unclear he declared the Miami Marlins his second-favorite team. He often wears a black Marlins shirt to school with orange pants to match the team’s colors. And each night when we sit in front of the television to watch an hour of baseball before bedtime it is usually the Marlins we see. The most recent Marlins game we watched together was last Tuesday night when the team’s best pitcher José Fernández sliced through the Washington Nationals, striking out 12 on his way to a 1-0 victory.

Related: Marlins pitcher José Fernández killed in boating accident at age of 24

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Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles tabbed to host Super Bowls in 2019, 2020, 2021

Atlanta to host Super Bowl LIV in February 2019Miami to host Super Bowl LV in February 2020Los Angeles to host Super Bowl LVI in February 2021If you spend billions of dollars to build it, they will come.Three times over. Continue reading…


David Beckham says he wants to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his MLS franchise

• Beckham has been given MLS approval for a franchise in Miami
• ‘If Ibrahimovic is still active, then I want to buy him right away’

David Beckham admits he would love the chance to sign “born winner” Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his proposed Major League Soccer franchise.

Related: Why Miami made David Beckham work hard for his MLS stadium dream

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Bernard Tomic arrested after party at his $7,000-a-night Miami Beach hotel suite

Australia’s top-ranked player charged after police and hotel security responded to guests’ complaints about loud noise and music coming from his penthouse

Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic pointed his finger aggressively at hotel security officers and dismissed police officers’ requests to leave a US$7,000-a-night Miami Beach hotel penthouse after complaints of loud music and early morning partying, according to authorities.

Tomic was arrested, handcuffed and transported to Miami’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. The 22-year-old is shirtless in the mugshot released by the Miami Beach Police Department.

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Coast Guard suspends search for missing Olympic sailor Trevor Moore

On Thursday an unmanned inflatable dinghy was reported adrift with items belonging to Trevor Moore The Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday in Biscayne Bay outside Miami for a missing sailor who was a member of the 2012 US Olympic sailing team.Coa…


NASL announces expansion club Miami FC with Paolo Maldini among owners

  • Longtime AC Milan star among co-owners of new NASL club Miami FC
  • Maldini teaming with TV rights entrepreneur Ricardo Silva in venture
  • Miami FC beats Beckham’s long-planned MLS club in Miami to market

Turns out the global superstar to bring professional soccer to Miami wasn’t David Beckham after all.

Paolo Maldini, longtime AC Milan defender and Italy captain, is teaming with TV rights magnate Riccardo Silva to launch Miami FC, a new club that will play in the second-tier North American Soccer League starting in 2016.

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Miami politicians offer David Beckham fresh hope for MLS franchise

  • City leaders offer a ground-sharing proposal
  • Beckham’s group cautious about plan

Politicians in Miami have thrown a lifeline to David Beckham’s ailing plans to launch a Major League Soccer franchise in the city.

After twice knocking down the former England captain’s proposals to build a new stadium on prime waterfront land, city leaders are now offering a temporary ground-sharing arrangement with Florida International University while the search for a permanent home goes on.

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Jameis Winston lawyer says FSU star will ‘confront lie with truth’

Quarterback attends misconduct hearing into allegations of sexual misconduct in 2012

A year after learning he would not face prosecution for the alleged rape of a fellow student, the star quarterback of college football’s national champions came face to face with his accuser on Tuesday at a disciplinary inquiry into still swirling claims of sexual misconduct.

The lawyer for Jameis Winston welcomed the code of conduct hearing at Florida State University as an opportunity for his client to “confront the lie with the truth”, insisting that Winston engaged only in consensual sex with the woman during the December 2012 incident at a campus party.

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Alex Rodriguez told federal officials he used banned drugs, report says

Miami Herald cites 15-page summary of January meeting in which New York Yankees star is said to have admitted he bought and used testosterone syringes from Miami Biogenesis clinicThe case against Alex Rodriguez Continue reading…


The morning after: Miami knows it’s better to have LeBron-ed and lost

Heat fans applaud Cavaliers-bound star as franchise president salutes ‘fantastic leader, athlete, team-mate and person’ LeBron James announces switch to Cavaliers Hunter Felt: LeBron’s decision changes NBA landscape Continue reading…


David Beckham’s MLS plan derailed as Miami mayor vetoes stadium site

Former England star considering options after second rejection leaves proposed Major League Soccer franchise without a home Continue reading…


Beckham’s MLS stadium plans take new twist with Miami-Dade mayor proposal

Mayor Carlos Gimenez tells David Beckham’s group to consider new waterfront option for new MLS franchise Continue reading…


David Beckham’s Miami stadium opposed by shippers and billionaire

Group launches ad campaign in protest at footballer’s plans, saying they will jeopardise hopes of expanding the city’s port Continue reading…


David Beckham’s grand plan for Port Miami stadium for new MLS team

A 25,000-seater waterfront venue would be perfect for the citys new MLS team but Miami Beckham United’s stadium is a long way from becoming a reality


Martin left Dolphins because of ‘racial insults and explicit sexual taunts’

Independent NFL report concludes ‘suicidal’ Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin was subjected to pattern of bullying by teammates Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry


David Beckham has the charm: can Miami’s Latino fans make his football dream work?

The Florida city has been a graveyard for soccer, but if Beckham succeeds the rewards will be huge

“This is the gateway city to Latin America,” says José Galindo, owner of Galifutbol, a football equipment shop in Miami’s Little Havana. “Every Latin and Central American country is represented here. The one thing that brings us together is soccer. It unifies the whole city.”

Galindo, originally from Guatemala, has been here for 13 years, selling every kind of strip and boot. A faded poster of David Beckham hangs in the window – already a world superstar, but now a figure of renewed fascination among Galindo’s growing army of local customers obsessed with the game.

Almost as soon as Beckham stepped from his limousine at Kendall Soccer Park in Miami last week, a vision of sports perfection between a stand of viburnum and ficus trees, he was engulfed by fans energised by both his global celebrity and excitement over his plans to start his own US league team in a purpose-built stadium on the shore of Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

The deal faces numerous hurdles, financial and political, and the kick-off whistle won’t be blown until at least 2017. But the plan has one major attribute beyond Beckham’s easy charm and marketing savvy: Miami, like Los Angeles where the 38-year-old former England captain played for six years with LA Galaxy, has a population of Latin American football fans eager for a team to throw their enthusiasm behind. That’s the theory behind Beckham’s Major League Soccer side, and he and his backers are prepared to invest millions to test it.

More than ever, Miami acts as a bridge between continents: a nexus for Latin money and culture. Beyond the tourist glitz of South Beach, Spanish is, de facto, the first language. Large communities of Nicaraguans, Guatemalans and Hondurans have taken the place of Cuban-Americans in Little Havana. Further north, Argentinians, Brazilians, Colombians and Uruguayans have settled, each bringing distinctive sensibilities and their love of football.

Beckham’s proposed stadium is within walking distance of Galifutbol, but so too is the Orange Bowl, once home to Miami FC, an MLS team that folded four years ago, its stadium ignominiously converted into a baseball ground.

The city of Miami is about 70% Hispanic, 16% black and 11% white. Russians and Jews live north in Sunny Isles; most whites and Cuban-Americans are in the vast suburbs stretching north and west to the Everglades. Beckham’s stadium is close enough to downtown for fans to walk. “Fans love to commute,” he said last week. “They love to walk. I’m hoping that’s the same in Miami.”

Galindo believes Beckham could succeed where Miami FC failed. Not only has he got local politicos behind him, but he has learned the lesson of his time at LA Galaxy – it’s one thing to sign star players to guarantee attendance, but his organisation will have to work to develop talent at the local level if it is to win local support.

Less likely to crowd into Beckham’s 25,000-capacity “People’s Football Club” stadium are members of Miami’s sizeable Cuban-American, Dominican and Puerto Rican populations – they tend to follow baseball or boxing.

The unanswered question is whether Beckham can build a fan base with non-Latino, Anglo-Americans.

The prevailing view, says Brazilian football fan Roger Soza, is that Anglo-Americans “just don’t really like it”. But as Beckham found in Los Angeles, the backing of the Latino community can be enough to guarantee success. “I don’t think the Anglos matter that much because there aren’t that many here,” says Galindo.

Still, football is a growing school sport for boys and girls, in part because of low cost of entry and because it carries less risk of injury than American football. But interest and participation tapers off when set against established US sports. Jeff Rust, a parent watching his teenage daughter play at a local park, suggests this is built into the school system. Schools can charge admission to watch American football. Soccer is free. “So naturally they push football,” he says.

And to date, Major League teams in Miami have not fared well. After Miami FC folded, Miami Fusion, confusingly located in nearby Fort Lauderdale, became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. They’re supported locally but barely known beyond. So why should a team work now? “He wouldn’t risk putting his name to something if he wasn’t sure it would work,” says Federico Legaz, manager of the Newcampo Argentinian steakhouse near the beach.

If Beckham’s team succeeds, the returns could be substantial. Sport is where the big money is and successful teams that boast star players such as Miami Heat’s LeBron James are guaranteed outsized rewards – a trend that has not gone unnoticed by the entertainment business.

Studios may be producing fewer films, and paydays for A-list actors are dwindling, but athletes can command multimillion-dollar contracts and their teams receive billions in broadcast fees. Last month, the Hollywood talent agency William Morris paid $2.3bn for the sports agency IMG Worldwide, adding tennis champion Novak Djokovic, supermodel Gisele Bundchen and pop star Taylor Swift, among others, to its clientele.

As sport becomes more deeply enmeshed with entertainment and fashion, it’s little surprise that Simon Fuller, the Beckhams’ manager and developer of American Idol, is deeply involved in the Miami project. Who better to personify the union of sport and entertainment than the Beckhams? While in Miami, Beckham’s picture was splashed across the media promoting his line of H&M underwear while Victoria was fine-tuning a presentation of VB clothing at New York fashion week on Sunday.

Sports fame and star power also triggered the crowd frenzy in Kendall last week. Benjamin Olmos de Aguilera, a 19-year-old midfielder, said Beckham was scheduled to meet youth teams for an hour. “But after 30 minutes, the crowd charged. He could barely walk. It was packed. He couldn’t even lift his arms up. He had to flee.”

Bernie Rodriguez, the grounds manager, predicts Beckham’s project will be successful if he can get the players. “So long as there’s a good product on the field, there won’t be a problem. In Miami, people will always come to support a winner.” That may be a far cry from supporting a club through good times and bad, but American audiences have indicated they have limited patience for failure, especially when so much other entertainment is on offer.

The site of the proposed stadium in the Port of Miami is within walking distance of Little Havana which, since Cuban-Americans moved to the suburbs, is now home to communities of Nicaraguans, Colombians, Guatemalans. It’s also close to South Beach, famous for its art deco hotels and celebrity clientele. So in addition to a local fan base of Latin Americans, the still-unnamed team will be able to draw celebrities and stars from other sports to make it into an event, predicts Rodriguez.

But that presumes Beckham and his partners, including Miami-based telecoms billionaire Marcelo Claure, can convince county authorities to provide a free site for the stadium. Before that can happen, Beckham will have to convince them that his plan is adequately funded and good for the city.

Last week, Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Giménez boasted of the support of county commissioners. “The world’s most popular sport is coming to the world’s hottest city,” he puffed.

But others urged caution, pointing to a previous project in which hundreds of millions in public funds was committed to bring the Miami Marlins to the area.

Claure said in order for private investors to want to build a stadium and a team, local government would have to show commitment. Beckham, meanwhile, told the Miami Herald he was confident of success. “I know this city is ready for football – soccer – this time around.” © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds