David Beckham says he is ready to bring a “global sport to a global city” after launching his Major League Soccer franchise in Miami on Monday.
Beckham confirmed his long-awaited expansion franchise at a press conference on Monday alongside MLS commissioner Don Garber.
The former England captain included an option to purchase an MLS franchise in his contract when he first joined LA Galaxy in 2007, and officially announced his intention to found a team in Miami in 2014.
However, the venture to take a team to the city was hampered for a number of years by the need to identify a suitable location for a stadium.
Beckham admits the protracted saga caused him “slight pain” over the course of the last four years but he is now looking forward to a new chapter in Miami.
“It has definitely been years in the making,” said Beckham. “I have definitely got a lot older and greyer since the first announcement four years ago.
“It is an exciting time to become an owner, along with the other owners we have with the team – it is very special.
“We have had a few bumps in the road, which is normal in business. Nothing is smooth sailing but sometimes you have to go through times like this to actually feel more rewarded at the end of it.
“If I hadn’t gone through four years of slight pain, at times, then I wouldn’t have met the ownership group that we have.
“Good things come to those who wait.”
Beckham hopes to entice “big stars” to his new venture but says the franchise will look to capitalise on the “hotbed of talent” in Miami when signing players.
“We plan to be in the league in 2020, we hope to have the stadium built by 2021, so there is a lot of work to be done before we think about the players that we want to bring in,” he said.
“Obviously we want to bring in big names, big stars but there is rules and regulations and we have such a hotbed of talent in this area, in Miami.
“I have been part of a tradition that is all about a youth team system, it is all about something that is built from the ground up – giving young kids a chance.”
When asked what his expectations for the team were, Beckham replied: “To be up there with the best, I hope. That is what we plan on doing.”
“It is why we want to bring a global sport to a global city. It is a sport that obviously I have played for many years, loved for many years. Now we are bringing it to a great city, a vibrant city.”
“A city that people love to come to and spend time. I am excited for the future and what we are going to do with this team. We want to be different.”