The former England captain looked back at the long road to owning an MLS franchise ahead of his side’s first official game on Sunday.
There were times when it looked like David Beckham was the only one who believed in his Miami dream.
The local government was not cooperating, the service just was not there, the scene situation was a disaster. Most that follow MLS had all but given up hope at some point or another and even Beckham himself admits that there were moments of doubt on the way.
But that belief, that dream, this notion, will come together the second Inter Miami, somewhat improbably, takes the field on Sunday. The street was significantly more complex than he expected but that procedure, with all its false starts and setbacks, will now finally become something real.
“Without a doubt, I knew that it was always going to be a challenge since this was my first time stepping into this circumstance,” Beckham said at a press roundtable on Wednesday. “I was excited. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I did not understand how big of a challenge.
“I have said it several times… that I believed that when I declared, seven decades back, two years will probably be up and we’ll be playing in our own arena and own facility.
“So yes, it has probably been the hardest thing I have done… but sometimes the hardest things in life are the toughest to get going. And that is how I look at this.”
MLS declared in 2014 that Beckham will be granted a franchise in Miami. It took six years for that franchise to come together.
Since Beckham’s first announcement, Orlando City, New York City FC, Atlanta United, Minnesota United, Los Angeles FC, and FC Cincinnati all joined the league as expansion teams. A lot of these clubs leapfrogged the Manchester United legend because of many different delays and false starts.
By all reports, Beckham’s MLS ownership fantasy appeared dead in the water on more than 1 occasion. It took four years to secure a stadium deal, with Miami officials driving a hard bargain with the prior England captain. By 2017, Beckham’s project had more financial muscle, and he got it with Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son, while brothers Jorge and Jose Mas were added into the ownership group.
However, the path to Inter Miami did not really begin in 2014. It didn’t start with the 2017 possession deals or the 2018 arena deal. That street started the moment Beckham came to MLS in 2007 and altered the league forever. If it was not for Beckham’s persistence, there could be no Inter Miami. And if it was not for Beckham’s vision, there surely wouldn’t be an MLS that looks like the one we see now.
“It’s very tricky to compare,” he said. “When I first moved to LA in 2007, the delight of me playing in another league, playing in another team in a league that hadn’t existed for several decades, which was a challenge and exciting for me. To have the ability to live in the U.S, it was exciting for me personally and for my loved ones. To be welcomed how we did was incredible.
“The league, without doubt, has gone to a whole different level from that moment to now, but that is in the vision of the commissioner [Don Garber], the vision of the team and the hard work that has been done over time. I also feel that it’s the investment that the other owners and other franchises have done too to make this league what it is now, to have the ability to bring the players who have played in this league over last five to ten years, to have the insight to be able to produce something like that to develop this league.”
Beckham is now the most recent proprietor tasked with developing the league and, like what he does, there is an excitement that tends to follow along. Miami is expected to courtroom big titles, sign big stars and, first and foremost, be a major club. There wasn’t a chance that Inter Miami would be just another club. Beckham wouldn’t permit it.
Somewhat fittingly, Inter Miami’s first-ever match will take place in Los Angeles, the city Beckham made his own when he transferred to MLS in 2007. With that movement, he had been promised the opportunity to get his own team , the potential for creating something special in his own image. It was a chance and a situation unlike any this game has ever seen – and Beckham is planning to construct a club unlike any MLS has ever seen.
For years, it seemed like a thankless job as Inter Miami faced setback after setback. However, in Beckham’s eyes it was all worthwhile. That belief has become something concrete: a club he anticipates will push the limits of what MLS offers.
“I know that each and every moment where I thought whether it was likely to happen or not, this weekend is our reward for the perseverance or the stubbornness as my wife calls it, and the tenacity to continue to understand that this was the ideal thing to do.”
Strap yourselves in – Beckham-mania is going to strike MLS again.