David Beckham reflects on newly formed Inter Miami's 'long, tough journey'

Inter Miami owner David Beckham reflects on the newly formed club's "long, tough journey" from being announced to its fruition in Major League Soccer.

Posted: Feb 28, 2020 2:41 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2020 2:41 PM

It was seven years ago that David Beckham, having announced his retirement from football, first dreamed of bringing a new team to Miami -- a painstaking process that finally comes to fruition this weekend.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, videos and features

Inter Miami CF will play its inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) game against LAFC Sunday. No doubt Beckham, who had a clause in his contract to form a new team when he joined LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007, will be breathing a deep sigh of relief.

"It's been a long journey and a tough one at times," he told CNN Sport's Carolyn Manno.

"But I must admit for the last 18, 19 months, working with (owners) Jorge and Jose (Mas) and the Mas family has been incredible.

"Things have been a lot brighter and more exciting in those last 18 months."

Beckham is part of a five-person ownership team headed by Miami-born MasTec chairman Jorge Mas.

The past year has seen Inter take shape as a crest and kit have been unveiled -- the club colors are black, white and pink -- and a roster of 29 players, managed by Argentinian Diego Alonso, has been assembled.

The club will play at Lockhart Stadium for two seasons before moving to the 25,000-seat Miami Freedom Park, currently under construction, that opens in 2022.

READ: Lyon stuns Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo

As for the city itself, Beckham has never doubted that football can thrive there -- even though former MLS franchise Miami Fusion lasted just four seasons after joining MLS in 1998.

"One thing that I never doubted was Miami," said Beckham.

"Miami was always going to be the place, Miami was always going to be our city.

"We have an incredible fanbase that is diverse in the culture and what Miami is all about and we want to keep that. That's what's special about Miami and South Florida. Its what's special, the culture and the diversity that brings to the city."

Establishing a site for a permanent stadium was challenging, with a number of proposed locations not given approval. The new $1 billion venue is being fully funded by the club's ownership and will feature 58 acres of green space, a tech hub, restaurants and shops.

READ: Man City appeals against two-year Champions League ban

Beckham need only look north of Miami to see how football can grip an American city. Atlanta United joined the league in 2014, and in 2018 won its first MLS Cup with an average attendance of more than 50,000 that season.

Beckham, the first global superstar to play in the States after stints at Manchester United and Real Madrid, won two MLS Cups with LA Galaxy.

Subsequently the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Thierry Henry have all graced the league, but Beckham says it would be more rewarding to develop local players through Inter's academy than immediately look to big-name signings.

"The fact that we can give the young kids an opportunity to play in a safe place -- in a place where they have the opportunity to play at the highest level -- the fact that we have created that is one of the proudest things I think as owners that we have done," he said

"We've talked about bringing in big name players, we've talked about bringing in big stars from Europe.

"I've always said that the proudest moment for us and the proudest moment for our fans would be to see a young kid come through our academy system and then play in the MLS."

READ: UK football authorities ban children from heading footballs in training

Beyond Sunday's opener in LA, there's another big day on the horizon for Inter -- its first home game on March 14 against Beckham's old club.

"It will be an emotional time when we go up against the Galaxy, but there is no doubt in my mind who I will want to win on that day," he said.

"I always said to (league commissioner) Don Garber that my commitment is bigger than my contract with the LA Galaxy. I wanted to be here for a lot longer than just the six years that I played.

"This is my next phase of my MLS journey. I was successful as a player with the LA Galaxy, and now I want to be successful as an owner with our city."

West Lafayette
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 45°
Kokomo
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 39°
Rensselaer
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Fowler
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Williamsport
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 40°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 43°
Delphi
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 42°
Monticello
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 42°
Logansport
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 39°
Rainfall & even some storms are ahead (with a bit of snow/sleet mix at the onset).
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300913

Reported Deaths: 5332
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41330845
Lake26364448
Allen17299290
Elkhart16665212
St. Joseph16319220
Hamilton12459164
Vanderburgh9428112
Tippecanoe826727
Porter791279
Johnson6139164
Hendricks5807154
Vigo574474
Monroe525247
Clark495374
Delaware4789103
Madison4760119
LaPorte446894
Kosciusko446139
Howard325575
Warrick316072
Floyd306177
Bartholomew303262
Wayne295261
Cass293431
Marshall289944
Grant258747
Noble246846
Hancock243749
Henry237136
Boone235154
Dubois230430
Dearborn208829
Jackson206033
Morgan200643
Knox178017
Gibson177022
Clinton174920
Shelby174554
Lawrence171646
DeKalb171229
Adams165219
Miami155114
Wabash153018
Daviess152243
Fayette145233
Steuben141113
Jasper138311
Harrison137624
LaGrange136629
Montgomery131226
Whitley129910
Ripley123714
Decatur123542
Huntington122310
Posey118913
Putnam118326
Wells118327
Randolph117819
White117421
Clay115621
Jefferson114214
Greene100253
Scott99818
Jay95012
Starke89221
Sullivan86615
Fulton81117
Perry80921
Jennings80514
Spencer8047
Fountain7378
Washington7176
Carroll66813
Franklin65925
Orange65728
Vermillion5832
Owen5816
Parke5416
Newton54012
Tipton53726
Rush5216
Blackford51211
Pike50218
Pulaski36810
Martin3485
Brown3263
Benton3251
Crawford2781
Union2621
Switzerland2473
Warren2352
Ohio2257
Unassigned0265

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events