Former international soccer star David Beckham, who retired from playing less than a year ago, confirmed Wednesday, Feb. 5 that he will be starting and owning an MLS team in Miami according to NPR.
This announcement was met with great excitement by Miami fans, who lost the Miami Fusion in 2001.
The MLS, which stands for Major League Soccer, is the highest level for the sport in the United States and Canada. Beckham has played professional soccer for Manchester United, Real Madrid, A.C. Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, the English national team, and most recently in the MLS for the LA Galaxy, and was given a pre-negotiated rate to buy an expansion franchise as part of his contract with the league as a Galaxy player in 2007.
Beckham began zeroing in on Miami for his franchise last year. He has said that the city has become truly international, appealing to visitors and immigrants from Latin America and Europe, audiences that flock to soccer games.
Beckham and his partners, as of yet unconfirmed, will be funding the club and the stadium privately.
“A lot of great people want to invest in this team and this club,” Beckham said.
“I know this city is ready for soccer, football, and this is going to be successful. I want to make it my own team. We are very excited, Miami is a vibrant city with a lot of passion.”
The details on funding and where the team will play are still fuzzy, but it is estimated that the team will begin playing in 2016 or 2017.
Of course, not everyone is thrilled about the news. The Orlando City SC Lions, a United Soccer Leagues Pro team who will be moving up to the MLS in 2015, tweeted the following shortly after Beckham’s announcement:
Welcome, David! #BuiltNotBought pic.twitter.com/an2VvWDe5b
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 5, 2014
This news also comes not long after Beckham’s appearance in H&M’s fan-favorite interactive Super Bowl ad, in which he ran around in his underwear:
Nicholas Cellucci is in the class of 2016 at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He is studying Mass Communications and is the Executive Producer for BUnow’s Radio section.