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David Beckham brings Major League Soccer to Miami

By Alex Butler
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David Beckham brings Major League Soccer to Miami
David Beckham talks to MLS fans and media after the official launch of the Miami Major League Soccer team during a press conference Monday at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Fla. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- David Beckham was in Miami on Monday to officially launch the city's Major League Soccer franchise.

The English soccer legend is a co-owner of the team. Beckham and his ownership group were at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami for the announcement after the group was granted a license for the franchise.

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The franchise has an agreement in place to build a stadium in the Overtown area of the city.

Beckham is joined by Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, MasTec telecommunications and construction leaders Jorge and José Mas, Softbank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son and entertainment mogul Simon Fuller.

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"Our mission to bring an MLS club to Miami is now complete and we are deeply satisfied, grateful and excited," Beckham said, according to a news release from the MLS.

"Our pledge to our fans in Miami and around the world is simple: Your team will always strive to make you proud on the pitch, our stadium will be a place that you cherish visiting and our impact in the community and on South Florida's youth will run deep."

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Beckham is the first former MLS player to own a team.

"It is with tremendous pride that we welcome Miami to Major League Soccer," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in the MLS release.

"With David Beckham, Marcelo Claure, Jorge and José Mas, Masayoshi Son and Simon Fuller leading the way, we know the right people are in place and the time is right for Miami to become a great Major League Soccer city. This ownership is committed to bringing Miami the elite-level soccer team, stadium and fan experience it richly deserves. We look forward to working with the entire organization on a strategic and successful launch for Miami's MLS club."

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Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez attended Monday's ceremony, in addition to Beckham's ownership group, Garber and hundreds of media members and fans.

A video tribute included well-wishes from celebrities including Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Neymar, Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Beckham's family, Wladimir Klitschko, Serena Williams and others.

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Beckham first announced his plans for the franchise in 2014. The city's first MLS franchise, the Miami Fusion, folded in 2002. Miami's newest franchise will start play in 2020, with its stadium set to open in 2021, The Miami Herald reported.

Beckham told the Herald he wants the team's roster to be composed of a combination of big-name and young players. He said he has been hearing from players who want to join the club for the last four years.

The former soccer star for Manchester United, Real Madrid and several other clubs received a discount on buying the team when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, fleeing European soccer in 2007 for the MLS. Beckham had the right to establish an MLS franchise for $25 million as part of the pact.

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