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David Beckham and his influence on Inter Miami and the MLS

David Beckham has had a glorious career and played for some of the world’s biggest teams, including Manchester United and Real Madrid. He surprised the world when he moved to LA Galaxy, out in the States.

Beckham made his competitive debut for the club in 2007 and scored five goals in 25 appearances. He stayed with the club until the end of the 2012 Major League Soccer season and during his time there he won two MLS cups (2011 and 2012) with the team.

Beckham and Inter Miami

So how did Beckham come to end up being a part owner of club Inter Miami?

It goes back to his playing contract when he signed for LA Galaxy. The contract included part ownership of a franchise, and here we are now.

Assembling the franchise took some time and encountered many obstacles, but Beckham finally managed to put together Inter Miami and the team played its first game in August 2020. The team won this first game 3-2 against Orlando City SC.

Miami was his natural choice, and he’d wanted to kick off the 2018 season in a 25,000-seater stadium in the waterfront of the famous city. The project faced lots of opposition, however, and didn’t get off the ground.

The franchise received the go-ahead finally when the construction magnates Jose and Jorge Mas pumped some fresh investment into the struggling project. (Beckham’s other business partners are Simon Fuller, Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son.)

Since Beckham arrived to the MLS, he’s had a powerful influence on the league and the number of teams playing in it has doubled. His team are considered outsiders for this year’s MLS Cup, while the favourites are Los Angeles FC, much to the delight of those betting in nearby Tennessee.

The Inter Miami stadium and MLS expansion

The team’s 18,000-seater stadium at Fort Lauderdale is an impressive feat of construction and a real testament to the skills of everyone involved in the project.

The Lockhart site will be the club’s home until it moves across the city to the Miami Freedom Park, which is scheduled to open in 2022. It will then be transformed into a training ground and will host a lower tier team.

Building the stadium was a race against time. Developing it took eight months and approximately $50 million went into it. With just two months to go until the team’s first game, the stadium was still very much a construction site.

Now the hope is to attract fans from South Florida and across the US. Before the creation of Inter Miami, soccer fans in Miami had been without a professional soccer team since 2001.

The Designated Player rule, or “Beckham Rule” as it’s also known, will also help to bring in fans. The rule is designed to help the US league compete with European clubs when it comes to attracting talent and allows teams to sign three players whose high salaries won’t count against the team salary cap.

The arrival of Beckham to the MLS breathed new life into the league and it has expanded to 26 teams. Not only is the MLS growing new franchises, but it is also growing the number of soccer-specific venues across the US.

Things are looking good for the league, then, seeing as, in 2019, it had announced a target of 30 teams. That itself was an expansion of its original target of 28 teams in the league. 

How will Beckham’s investment influence Inter Miami?

Beckham is ploughing some serious coin into the club.

According to media reports he’s invested just over an extra $15 million in the club ahead of the second season. The club’s plan is to draw in greats to it such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar when their playing days in Europe come to an end.

Beckham is confident he can achieve this and believes the club is an attractive place to play soccer. Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Rodolfo Pizarro are all already on the roster.

Not only can fans hope for Beckham to bring big names to the club, but also that he’ll have an impact on the team’s style of play.

As the club’s director of soccer operations, he’s just hired his friend and former teammate Phil Neville as the head coach. Besides serving as a player for Manchester United, Neville was assistant to David Moyes on the team, has been an assistant coach at Valencia and, most recently, was manager of the England women’s national football team.

Neville worked especially well while coaching the women’s national side. Under his leadership, the team reached the semi-finals of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final but lost 2-1 against the USA in a hard-fought match.

Despite Neville’s credentials, Beckham has come under criticism for his decision to hire the ex-Man Utd star, with people seeing him choosing Neville merely because he’s a friend.

One thing is clear from all of the above, however, and that is that David Beckham has thrown his lot seriously in with Inter Miami. His presence has helped to revolutionize the league and soccer in the US on the map. He may feel that his detractors should be thanking him, not attacking him. 

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