It has been almost four years since David Beckham first publicly appeared on the South Florida scene with a pledge that he would bring Major League Soccer to South Florida. 1,448 days. 34,752 hours.
A long time.
It appears that the “countup” clock many in the Miami-Dade soccer community may finally stop ticking.
After weeks of positive movement and reports that the long-awaited announcement was drawing near, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday that the Miami MLS ownership group consisting of Beckham, Marcelo Claure, Simon Fuller, and Jorge and Jose Mas would formally launch its team on Monday.
While significant progress has been made over the last year — including progress on a stadium site and the addition of two powerful ownership figures in the Mas brothers — the formal approval by MLS followed by the official announcement have been conspicuously absent. According to Doug Hanks and Michelle Kaufman, the final piece of the puzzle now appears to be in place:
Though Beckham and partners, including new recruits Jorge and Jose Mas, have already secured stadium land in Overtown and the league has granted tentative approval of the plan, a formal deal hadn’t been cut as 2017 came to a close. Now Beckham’s group and the league appear to have finalized the details needed to announce MLS approval of a Miami franchise, and dignitaries are readying for a large public event on Monday to welcome the team.
This is certainly welcome news to Miami-Dade soccer fans who have been waiting much longer than four years for a team. Since the Miami Fusion was folded in 2001, top-flight soccer has been absent from South Florida. The Fusion only played a handful of games at the Miami Orange Bowl, so this will be the first time a top-flight squad plays a majority of its home games in Miami-Dade County since the Miami Toros moved to Broward County and became the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1976.
There is still a lot more to learn, but it appears the next step in this journey is about to be taken.