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 1:41 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2020 1:41 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."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93012

Reported Deaths: 2040
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26447926
Ramsey10697319
Dakota7354125
Anoka5935132
Stearns390924
Washington368955
Scott250033
Olmsted236728
Nobles195416
Blue Earth16476
Wright15737
St. Louis148039
Carver13897
Clay134040
Rice13228
Mower13125
Sherburne112514
Kandiyohi9722
Winona86318
Lyon6674
Waseca6128
Steele5332
Freeborn5323
Benton5303
Nicollet52116
Watonwan5164
Todd4872
Crow Wing48118
McLeod4752
Chisago4711
Le Sueur4524
Otter Tail4224
Beltrami4055
Martin37210
Goodhue3519
Pine3090
Itasca30314
Polk2984
Douglas2862
Isanti2790
Becker2642
Carlton2561
Cottonwood2240
Morrison2221
Dodge2180
Pipestone21710
Chippewa2061
Meeker1942
Sibley1863
Wabasha1830
Brown1822
Yellow Medicine1752
Rock1640
Cass1593
Murray1582
Mille Lacs1543
Redwood1541
Unassigned15052
Renville1427
Jackson1411
Faribault1360
Swift1271
Houston1210
Koochiching1213
Kanabec1178
Roseau1170
Pennington1161
Fillmore1110
Lincoln1080
Hubbard941
Stevens941
Pope920
Big Stone760
Aitkin751
Wadena670
Wilkin613
Grant594
Lake580
Norman530
Lac qui Parle501
Marshall501
Mahnomen461
Red Lake421
Traverse290
Clearwater270
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 83644

Reported Deaths: 1294
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15697261
Woodbury526363
Johnson508627
Black Hawk443688
Linn3941110
Story340517
Dubuque310141
Scott292628
Dallas275138
Pottawattamie206838
Buena Vista197212
Marshall177034
Sioux15043
Wapello131457
Webster121614
Plymouth110420
Clinton109920
Muscatine109154
Crawford10655
Cerro Gordo101821
Warren9486
Jasper81732
Des Moines7647
Marion7536
Tama70431
Henry6854
Carroll6535
Lee6207
Wright5721
Dickinson5086
Boone5008
Bremer4837
Washington45311
Louisa42815
Mahaska39119
Delaware3833
Franklin34618
Floyd3363
Jackson3303
Winneshiek3246
Hamilton3223
Clay3164
Lyon3074
Benton3061
Hardin2951
Winnebago28913
Poweshiek2788
Butler2672
Buchanan2651
Clarke2643
Jones2643
Emmet26010
Shelby2581
Allamakee2566
Kossuth2540
Chickasaw2470
Clayton2443
Sac2440
Guthrie2416
Cedar2381
Cherokee2352
Grundy2193
Madison2122
Fayette2112
Harrison2073
Iowa1981
Mitchell1880
Howard1866
Humboldt1843
Palo Alto1830
Calhoun1793
Hancock1772
Mills1771
Cass1602
Monroe15710
Pocahontas1562
Lucas1536
Page1530
Osceola1510
Monona1451
Jefferson1371
Appanoose1333
Union1283
Taylor1271
Davis1244
Ida1151
Van Buren1131
Fremont1100
Keokuk1051
Worth1040
Greene990
Montgomery905
Wayne852
Audubon811
Adair691
Decatur670
Ringgold492
Adams330
Unassigned40
Rochester
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Mason City
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 87°
Albert Lea
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 84°
Austin
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 84°
Charles City
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 83°
Cooler temperatures are almost here
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Trump campaign advisor encourages in-person voting

Image

Virtual Yom Kippur

Image

Community Kitchen seeing a boost

Image

A safe Covid-19 fall activity: the apple orchard

Image

Political signs and Road right of way

Image

Accused murderer Renard Carter's bond set at $5 Million

Image

Breweries struggle amid pandemic

Image

Ivanka Trump campaigns through SE Minnesota

Image

Ivanka Trump in SE Minnesota

Image

Law enforcement participate in Torch Run

Community Events