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Don Garber set to visit Miami as stadium pursuit continues

Don Garber David Beckham

Photo by Robert Mayer/USA Today Sports


Do not take Miami out of the MLS expansion picture just yet.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said Sunday that he and other league officials will be heading to the South Florida metropolis in the coming weeks to try and finalize a plan for a soccer-specific stadium for David Beckham and his ownership group. Beckham’s group has had trouble in its attempts reach a deal with the local government for the past year, but Garber intends to head to Miami to see if he can help hammer out an agreement.

“When you have the right stadium plan in the right environment, we have success, and we don’t have that yet,” Garber said at halftime of Fox broadcast of the San Jose Earthquakes-Chicago Fire game. “David and his partners are doing a great job trying to get it done. We’ll be there in the next couple of weeks. Hope to be able to get something done.”

Beckham is reportedly in Miami now for meetings about the expansion efforts, marking his first visit to the Florida city since before the 2014 World Cup. His presence in the area suggests the Miami expansion group is ramping up its efforts to secure a stadium deal.

With Minnesota now set to enter MLS as its 23rd team, Miami is in the midst of an interesting battle with Sacramento for the final spot of expansion. USL side Sacramento Republic has expressed serious interest in landing an MLS franchise – and Garber recently said that was a matter of when, not if – but Miami would beat the California club to the punch if it can work out a soccer-specific stadium solution.

If Miami was to get a franchise, the four expansion slots that MLS planned to distribute by the end of the decade would be filled. Sacramento could, however, still join the league decides to expand beyond 24 teams, which is something MLS intends to figure out within the next year or so.

“Very different from the past,” said Garber when asked why the league would consider growing further. “It’s a different soccer environment here in this country and in Canada, very different around the world. Our owners are different, the plan is different.

“We never thought we’d get when we were at 10 (teams) to 14 and then at 16 and we have a goal for 24. We’re really evaluating going past that. We’ve got a couple more decisions we need to make. I imagine in sometime in the next year or so we’re going to lay out the plan for how large this league can be.”


What do you make of Garber’s comments? Starting to think Miami is going to happen? How big will MLS be when it is all said and done?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. You gotta figure the Miami trip will be a fact finding mission for Garber. Sacramento will be his hammer. “Sort your s!#t down here by such and such a date or there will be no MIami franchise.”

    Unfortunately he’ll be telling this to Beckham and his crew, who aren’t the ones who need to be told. The ones who need to be told are the city and county supervisors that are blocking this. Unless Jeb Bush secretly loves soccer, seems like Miami ain’t gonna happen.

    Any Miami locals care to comment? Is Miami politics just so venal that they’d rather not have a pro soccer team than lose their piece of pie?

  2. This is pointless. Beckham and MLS will get nowhere with the city of Miami and its politicians. MLS would be much better off awarding the next franchise to a deserving city and fan base, like one in Sacramento,

    • I doubt it’s an either/or proposition since MLS is on the cusp of announcing Minnesota United as the newest MLS franchise. All signs point to this league exceeding 24 teams. I think we’ll see Sacramento, San Antonio, and other joining the league in the next couple years.

  3. What Don failed to mention is that he is secretly a lifelong Leo Moura fan and really coming down to South Florida to watch the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers’ home opener against Raul and the Cosmos in two weeks! I encourage anyone else bored with waiting around to hear Miami’s MLS fate to join us just a short drive north for some live soccer on April 4th. 🙂

  4. the most important part of having a “top league by 2022” is to make more teams but not raise the salary cap to even attempt to keep up with global wage inflation, especially when you were already being dwarfed /Garber

  5. I doubt Beckham wants to settle for anything less than a top shelf location, which will essentially be downtown near the water. He’s gonna sign some of the world’s greatest players once he gets this thing going and they’re not gonna find playing at FIU very appealing. It will happen

    • He’s gonna sign some of the world’s greatest players once he gets this thing going

      That’s certainly the hope, because rational views from sports fans across the country realize Miami may be a “top shelf location” but it’s not a “top shelf fanbase”.

  6. It seems to me, that in a situation for acquiring expensive land in a primarily built out city, one must be inventive. However it appears that the Beckham group need to follow the same plan that the Galaxy and now the LAFC have used or will use to build a stadium. Both teams in LA, another city with steep land costs, as well as transportation and parking issues, have gone with a partnership with a local University/College. The Galaxy with their groundbreaking partnership with the California State University System, for the use of the Dominguez Hills campus, and now it appears that LAFC will , if all goes well, enter into an agreement with USC to build a new stadium on land (and facilities) that USC now control,
    A quick Google Earth search identified at least three, possibly four campuses in the Miami-Dade county and greater Miami area that could have a big enough land to put a stadium, with an average 18k stadium footprint that an MLS team would use. Especially if the owners of the Beckham franchise would sweeten the deal with additional shared facilities. The capital to build new facilities is in short supply in both public and private schools. I am sure with the right incentives a deal could be struck fairly quickly.

    • But is a university-sited campus sexy enough for Miami? We keep hearing about yacht parking and Cristiano Ronaldo. Will Beckham’s vision for an ultra hip football club work on a university campus?


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