By TIM FONTENAULT
With Queens Park Rangers back in the Premier League, Harry Redknapp wants to celebrate with a family reunion from his West Ham days. On the invitation list: Toronto FC forward Jermain Defoe.
The 31-year-old striker, who joined the Canadian MLS side in the winter, could join the Hoops on loan at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
Redknapp, who managed Defoe at West Ham from 1999 to 2004, would also like to bring in two other former Hammers: Manchester United center back Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.
However, the report suggests that QPR owner Tony Fernandes has blocked the pursuit of Ferdinand, while Lampard has no less than 20 suitors, reportedly including 2015 MLS expansion side New York City FC.
Here are some more MLS notes from Tuesday:
VIKINGS’ OWNERS TAKE BIG STEP IN MLS APPROACH
The owners of the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings are expected to announce an alliance with Relevant Sports and their pursuit of a Major League Soccer club on Wednesday.
Relevant Sports is the company that created the International Champions Cup, a summer competition that brings Europe’s biggest club teams, including Real Madrid, Chelsea and AC Milan, to the United States. They are also organizing a friendly between Manchester City and Olympiacos on Aug. 2 at TCF Bank Stadium, the home of the University of Minnesota’s football team.
News of the Vikings’ interest in Major League Soccer is nothing new, as the organization is looking to share their new, $1 billion stadium that is set to open in 2016. However, the news comes only days after Minnesota United FC won the NASL spring season. The Loons have teamed up with the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball in pursuit of MLS expansion.
VOTERS SPLIT OVER MIAMI WATERFONT STADIUM
David Beckham was in Miami over the weekend to campaign for a waterfront stadium for his MLS expansion franchise, but the English legend still has a lot a work to do if he hopes to make his ideal stadium a reality.
A poll of Miami-Dade County voters suggests that 45 percent of residents are against the stadium to 43 percent in favor, although this is generally considered a tie, given a 4.5 percent margin of error. Voters have generally expressed concern with the effect of the stadium on Museum Park and the surrounding area.
Results of the poll are “a little bit troubling”, according to poll conductor Fernand Amandi, but Beckham and company are planning on working more with the public in the coming weeks.
“Our plan will create a stadium and park that is compatible with Museum Park, protects public access to the waterfront, and further activates and expands Museum Park by 20 percent,” publicist Tadd Schwartz said in a statement. “We look forward to discussing our vision with the public over the coming months.”
ORLANDO CITY TEAMS UP WITH PORTUGUESE GIANTS BENFICA
Orlando City SC, which will begin play in MLS in 2015, has announced a partnership with SL Benfica of the Portuguese Liga.
Among the many benefits provided through the partnership, the two clubs will share evaluations of professional and youth players, set up friendlies against each other in Portugal and the United States and allow for players from either club to train with the other.
“This agreement represents a partnership with a new MLS club with large ambitions led by a widely respected entrepreneur in Flavio Agusto,” SL Benfica President Luis Filipe Vieira said in the release. “It’s also important to note that the agreement is not limited only to football. It also involves a social and educational aspect by enabling high-performance athletes to access scholarships in the U.S. market and the reconciliation of competitive sports with a high quality education level.”
Should Defoe spend his offseason in England? Who would you like to see bring MLS to Minnesota? How do you feel about the Orlando City-Benfica partnership?
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