Major League Soccer says it doesn’t want David Beckham’s Miami expansion team to play at the site some politicians have started to promote for a new stadium: next to Marlins Park in Little Havana.
“No — we’re not considering that location,” MLS President Mark Abbott told the Miami Herald. “Our strong belief is that, to be successful, it needs to be downtown.”
That resistance, especially as elected leaders begin to coalesce around the Marlins site, could make it difficult for Beckham and his investors — who have eyed public land for their mostly privately funded stadium — to find another place they might deem suitable.
But MLS didn’t always scorn the Marlins location.
So close were MLS and the city of Miami to making a deal at the former Orange Bowl site that, in early 2008, they drafted a confidential agreement — never signed — to send to city commissioners for approval.
Before the contract was to be written, MLS Commissioner Don Garber praised then-Mayor Manny Diaz, who had included an adjacent soccer stadium into the plans for the new Miami Marlins ballpark.
“You’ve done an amazing job on this project,” Garber wrote in an email dated Dec. 12, 2007.