By Michelle Kaufman
David Beckham does not plan to make any announcements during his visit to Miami this week, but according to a source close to his camp, the soccer icon hopes to have “significant’’ news to share “before summer’’ regarding the finalizing of his team ownership group, a name for his Miami Major League Soccer club and the proposed debut season -- maybe 2017, but more likely 2018.
Beckham’s group has narrowed down four or five stadium sites “he quite likes,’’ but the more immediate issue, said the source, is trying to secure additional financing to be able to impress the soccer-savvy South Florida market with a state-of-the-art stadium, international marquee players the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, and a world-class soccer academy that would attract top young talent from all over the Americas.
“The narrative has centered around the stadium site, and that is a priority, but it is a bit of a red herring,’’ said the source. “The group has very big ambitions and big-picture decisions to make; so the reason this is taking so long is that they decided to take a step back from the stadium site issue and focus on what kind of football club we can be, how deep are our pockets, how much money can we spend?
“Will we be a rich stable club or a very rich club that attracts a Ronaldo or a Messi, the caliber of player that would really excite fans in Miami. Will we build a 20,000-seat stadium or can we afford 60,000? Public land or private? Will our academy be the envy of MLS or the envy of all of Latin America? We have to compete with NYCFC and the L.A. Galaxy, and the new Orlando team, and that requires deep pockets.’’
MLS commissioner Don Garber has remained in close contact with Beckham’s group, and plans to re-visit Miami soon.
“David and his partners are continuing to work hard to finalize plans for a new stadium, and we are supporting them in their efforts,” said Garber, who was headed to Minneapolis for a Wednesday announcement of a 23rd MLS franchise in that city. “As we have said previously, we believe that with the right stadium and David’s passion, leadership and business acumen, Miami will be a great MLS market. We plan to visit Miami in the coming months and will meet with David and local officials.’’
Beckham and his manager/business partner Simon Fuller have spent the past several months talking to potential investors all over the world.
“Just because (Beckham) hasn’t been seen in Miami doesn’t mean he has lost interest,’’ said the source. “That is not true at all. He has been talking to investors in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, who are very interested in Miami and attaching themselves to the team. He is narrowing down the right partners, trying to find partners who share his vision and integrity. Once he knows how much money he has to spend, then he can start planning all the rest of it. That really has to come first.’’
TOP FIVE SUN LIFE STADIUM SOCCER CROWDS:
ATT. MATCH (DATE)
1. 73,429 Brazil-Colombia (Sept. 5, 2014)
2. 71,124 Brazil-Honduras (Nov. 16, 2013)
3. 70,080 Barcelona-Chivas (Aug. 3, 2011)
4. 67,273 International Champions Cup Day 2 (Aug. 7, 2013)
5. 57,748 Chelsea-AC Milan (July 28, 2012)
A state of Florida record crowd of 73,429 showed up at Sun Life Stadium last night for a spicy showdown between Brazil and Colombia! It was a rematch of their contentious World Cup quarterfinal. Brazil won on Friday, 1-0, on a free kick by Neymar.
Here is the story...
And here are some photos...
In case you haven't heard, Brazil and Colombia are playing a friendly Sept. 5 at Sun Life Stadium, and the game will feature many World Cup stars.
The Brazil roster announced by new coach Dunga features 10 of the 23 World Cup players, including Neymar, Hulk, Oscar and David Luiz. It will be their first match since their humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals.
Tickets for the match are available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the stadium box office at 305-943-6311.
Brazilian National Team Roster
Goalkeepers -Jefferson (Botafogo), Rafael Cabral (Napoli)
Defenders - David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Gil (Corinthians), Miranda (Atletico Madrid), Maicon (Roma), Filipe Luis (Chelsea), Alex Sandro (FC Porto), Danilo (FC Porto)
Midfielders - Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Elias (Corinthians), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Everton Ribeiro (Cruzeiro), Oscar (Chelsea), Phillipe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Forwards - Ricardo Goulart (Cruzeiro), Hulk (Zenit), Neymar (Barcelona), Diego Tardelli (Atletico MG)
Gulliver students may have noticed a pair of familiar faces on the field during the flag ceremony before the USA v. Ghana game in Natal.
Brothers Alexander and Christopher Joch were selected to carry the American flag into the stadium and during the anthems as part of a global Coca-Cola promotion. Alexander, 16, and Christopher, 14, are the ones on the left side in this photo. The boys got to spend the day at the stadium, get behind-the-scenes tour, and help prepare the locker rooms and training sessions for the two teams.
You never know who you're going to run into at the World Cup! I was at the Sao Paulo airport early this morning with the US media corps getting ready to board our flight to Natal when we ran into....MLB 12-time All-Star catcher Mike Piazza, wearing a pink Palermo FC hoodie. Turns out Piazza, who has lived in Miami Beach for 12 years, is a HUGE soccer fan. He attended the Brazil-Croatia opener and was headed to Manaus to see England vs. Italy (his second team, along with USA) on Saturday.
Piazza told us his dad used to take him to see Philadelphia Fever games and he remembered seeing Pele playing in the NASL. He dabbled in soccer himself, and sees himself as a center back ("my lack of speed would hurt me at any other position'').
He said he would love to see an MLS team in Miami.
"I hope David Beckham can reach a compromise with the city and get a team there,'' he said. "I have been in Miami 12 years now, and love how the city has evolved. I remember going to Miami-Dade College back in 1987-88 and South Beach was just starting to change. Now, with South Beach and downtown and the Brickell area, it has really become an international destination. A soccer team would add to that.
"My kids go to school with kids from so many other countries and soccer is a big part of the culture and fabric of our community. I'm not sure if the Port was the right spot, or the FEC slip. I'm a taxpayer and I understand the concerns, but I think downtown would be great because people can go to bars and restaurants before and after, families can hang out in the area, it could be great. I really hope Miami takes that step and makes this happen. I would definitely go, and would like to be involved.''
World Cup Countdown: 5 days to go!!!!!
It's quite a scene here at Sun Life Stadium for the England match vs. Honduras. Crowd of 45,379 and there was a LOT of partying and singing and drum-beating going on in the parking lots before the match.
David Beckham is in the house, sitting in a suite with Marcelo Claure. He stuck his head out the window a few times to the delight of fans below.
The match was suspended for 30 minutes in the 23rd minute due to lightning. The British journos were fascinated with the lightning delay thing. Apparently that doesn't happen in England. Also, they were worried because they were missing their evening deadlines.
Here are some photos of the scene here...
And another one...
Guess who these fans were rooting for??
Great drumming by these guys...
And here is Becks...
World Cup Countdown: 6 Days to Go!
The World Cup kicks off next Thursday in Sao Paulo, with Brazil vs. Croatia. I'll be reporting from there live. For those who can't make it to Brazil, this looks like a fabulous second option....
Bud Light Brings Brazilian Carnival to Miami Block Party to Celebrate the FIFA World Cup™
WHAT: The wait is over. To kick-off the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ inaugural game between Brazil and Croatia, Bud Light is bringing down the house with a unique celebration that includes a Brazilian carnival float, samba dancers, live batucada band and other surprises to the largest block party in Miami.
Even better, Bud Light – the official beer of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ is inviting fútbol aficionados and media as special guests to join this ultimate soccer experience. The event will feature exciting games, a fan zone with tournament prizes, performance stage with live bands and other surprises that will be taking place at the historic Kukaramakara Brickell. The inaugural game will be hosted by actor Ivan Van Hernandez and radio personality and television host Humberto Rodriguez “El Gato”.
WHEN: Thursday, June 12, 2014
1:00PM – Festivities/Media Opportunities 3:30PM – Brazil v. Croatia (game)
WHERE: Kukaramakara (Brickell)
1250 South Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33131
World Cup Countdown: 8 Days to Go.
Hi from SunLife Stadium, where we are about 45 minutes from kickoff for England vs. Ecuador. It is raining. It is very gray. It is very England.
It is SO England that the main two press boxes are reserved for English media only..there are 88 of them traveling with the national team. So, Ecuador media and local scrubs like myself relegated to the auxiliary box.
I see more yellow shirts than white or red, but it's still early. Crowd of 20,000-25,000 expected. Midday-midweek hurt ticket sales, but done at this time for English TV.
Starting lineups just released:
ENGLAND: Ben Foster (GK), James Milner, Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Frank Lampard (captain), Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlande-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Wayne Rooney, Rickie Lambert.
ECUADOR: Maximo Banguera (GK), Jorge Guagua, Frickson Erazo, Juan Carlos Paredes, Christian Noboa, Jefferson Montero, Walter Ayovi, Felipe Caicedo, Enner Valencia, Luis Antonio Valencia (captain), Carlos Gruezo