David Beckham confirms Miami franchise in Major League Soccer
(CNN) — Since retiring he has been relaxing by building Lego models, but David Beckham is back in football — and this time he’s got his very own team.
Beckham, who retired from football in May 2013, unveiled his new project Wednesday after confirming he will establish a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, Florida.
“I want to create a team that is personal to me,” Beckham told reporters Wednesday.
“I know this city is ready for soccer, football, and this is going to be successful.
” I know there was a team 10 years ago which folded. I wanted to create a team that can be very personal.
“I want to make it my own team. We are very excited, Miami is a vibrant city with a lot of passion. I am looking forward to spending a lot more time and my family being here.”
When Beckham signed for Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, a clause was inserted into his contract which gave him the option to create a new MLS team for $25 million.
The announcement, which was made at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, comes after months of speculation.
The MLS, which will begin its 19th season on March 8, currently features 19 clubs with teams in New York City and Orlando set to join the fray in 2015.
The League is expected to add three more franchises by 2020, including Beckham’s.
Beckham must wait to ensure his franchise meets the requirements over a stadium and financing before the MLS board can accept Miami as the league’s 22nd club.
But the former England captain will is confident his new project will be a huge success and bring great reward for the city.
“There are a lot of things to do, nothing successful is easy in life,” he added.
“There will be more fun times than difficult times. We are going to have a lot of interesting people that want to invest in this club.
“When you have the right investors, with passion for the game, that is the place to start.
“We are making a soccer club that is going to loved by millions of people. We plan on this being a global team.”
Beckham and his representatives have also confirmed they will fund the club’s new stadium privately and have held talks with Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
He said: “We don’t want public funding. We will fund the stadium ourselves.
“It’s something we’ve worked on very hard where we can fund it ourselves.
“The support we’ve had so far has been incredible. We want to create a club which is the people’s football club.”
In October 2013, Beckham revealed his desire to set up a new franchise during a show broadcast live on Facebook to his 30 million followers.
“I’m passionate about staying in football and being an owner of a team is something I’m passionate about,” he said at the launch of his new book last year.
The news of Beckham’s project was revealed in more detail last November when NBA star LeBron James confirmed he was teaming up with the former England football captain.
James, who plays basketball with the Miami Heat, said preliminary talks were underway and was keen to be involved in the venture.
“David has become a good friend of mine over the last few years, and I think it would be great for this city to have a football club for sure. There’s interest on both sides. It’s preliminary talks, but there is some open dialogue,” James said last November.
If a partnership is agreed it would be James’s second investment in the sport — the 28-year-old is already a minority shareholder in English Premier League team Liverpool.
“I’ve grown a great interest in watching the game … it’s a pretty intense sport and my kids love it as well. I’ve grown to the point where I know exactly what’s going on when I’m watching the game.”