David Beckham Could Be Close To Bringing An MLS Team Back to Miami

Two months after David Beckham jetted to Miami to meet with a Bolivian billionaire and tour stadiums around Dade County, reports are trickling out of Britain this week suggesting that South Florida soccer fans' hopes might just be true. Becks is close to announcing that's he's going to start an MLS franchise, the British press says, and it's probably going to be in Miami.

It's important to bear in mind that the news comes via the Sun and a handful of other British papers where sports "news" sometimes bears a closer resemblance to The Onion UK than to ESPN.

Still, Beckham did tell reporters this week that ""It will be in a few months maybe but it's important to get it right," adding: "This is a big decision where I'll have my franchise and how I'm going to do it. It's something I'm excited about."

Beckham certainly gave Miami a thorough look when he came to town at the end of May. He met Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian billionaire who has tried to lure professional soccer to town in the past, and toured FIU's football stadium as well as a few other sites around town.

When he retired from the MLS last season, Beckham left with an option to buy into a new franchise at a discount rate.

Of course South Florida already had one franchise -- the Miami Fusion -- that bottomed out and was killed, but that team didn't have Beckham at the helm and actually played up in Fort Lauderdale.

Could Becks really bring soccer to town? The Herald's Joseph Goodman takes up the argument this morning and suggests it could work -- if Beckham ignores the FIU option and instead plops a new stadium into South Beach's Flamingo Park.

Crazy idea? Most definitely. But Goodman's right that a west Miami stadium wouldn't match Beckham's star power or energize casual fans the way a SoBe-based team might.

Then again, even the idea of game-time traffic on Alton Road is enough to send battle-scarred South Beach residents to serious therapy.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink