Excitement, hope among local leaders, fans ahead of Beckham MLS announcement

MIAMI (WSVN) - On the eve of a highly anticipated announcement, city and county officials, as well as sports fans, have high hopes for David Beckham’s new Major League Soccer team in Miami.

The soccer icon and his partners are expected to reveal the team’s name and logo during a news conference at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Monday. He described it as an important announcement about the future of soccer in the Magic City.

MLS will stream the event live, who greeted the news with enthusiasm about what’s to come.

“It is a good idea to have here a new team,” said Celia Cardenas.

“It is always fun to see the games,” said Katrina Ondrejovicova.

Local fan Dawn Kopacka said a family member in particular would certainly embrace a local soccer team. “That’s really exciting. I have a 9-year-old that has now decided he’s going to be a soccer player, so I’m sure this is going to be something that he’ll be definitely interested in,” she said.

The mayors of Miami and Miami-Dade County expect fans young and old would appreciate their very own professional soccer team, which could also offer a nice economic boost.

“I hope and expect it to be a very good announcement for this community,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

“We’re going to work hard to bring Major League Soccer to the city that the city deserves,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Beckham has spent the last four years trying to bring MLS back to South Florida. The Miami Fusion played from 1998 to 2001, but the team folded because of poor attendance.

Beckham’s group had expressed interest in building a stadium at PortMiami, next to the American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami and across from Marlins Park in Little Havana.

Those deals were unsuccessful. Their eyes are currently set on a site in Overtown where they would like to build a 25,000-seat, $200 million stadium that would be privately financed.

Still, they have faced some challenges.

“They haven’t finalized the deal or the current site that they’re looking at,” said Suarez. “Once that happens, and they apply to the city for whatever they need, we’ll take a look at that and address it at that point.”

It’s a step forward nonetheless and welcome news for some local residents.

“I think I would really love it,” said fan Cheryl Stockhausen. “I think any time we can get together with family and have a reason to be together and see active things, I think that would be fun.”

Beckham’s group said it wants the new team to start playing in the 2020 season.

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