A very reliable source confirms that David Beckham is in Miami today, having dinner tonight with Marcelo Claure and Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and they will be scouting potential MLS stadium sites tomorrow. The Brazil national team is also in town, training for Saturday's game vs. Honduras at Sun Life Stadium.
Beckham AND Neymar in Miami tonight. Epicenter of the soccer universe!!
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2-0-2, 6 points) are on a 2-game win streak and hope to make it three at home Friday night against the NASL leading Carolina Railhawks (3-1-0, 10 points) The game is at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium.
“It's going to be a tough game for us,” said Strikers head coach Günter Kronsteiner. “I wish we had more time to prepare before we face the best team in the league. But our guys have been working hard and with the two wins we had on the road, their confidence has been increasing.”
The Strikers won on the road against the San Antonio Scorpions 2-1 in San Antonio on August 17th, followed by a win in Atlanta against the 2013 Spring Champions Silverbacks 1-0 last Saturday, August 24.
A pair of FC Dallas players on loan have had a huge impact on the Strikers. Goalkeeper Richard Sanchez got the shutout against Atlanta, earning him NASL Player of the Week honors. Sanchez is on loan from FC Dallas of MLS has been solid for the Strikers on goal this season. His Dallas teammate, Bradlee Baladez, scored on a header off a cross from Ivan Guerrero.
There will be a special fan promotion Friday: $1 beers and live entertainment with local reggae band RYTHMadix from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available online at www.strikers.com or by calling 954-606-0400. Call or visit Strikers.com for more information.
1. Brazil wanted to show the world that there is still soccer magic in those samba feet, and they surely did that with a 3-0 thumping of World Cup and European champion Spain. From Fred's second-minute oppourtunistic goal in the second minute until the end of the game, the Brazilians were in complete control and never allowed the Spaniards to get ticky or tacky. They just got frustrated. No, it isn't the World Cup. The true test will be next summer. But this Confederations Cup set up a nice storyline -- Brazil on the rise, Spain needs to play better.
2. Neymar. Barca must be feeling darn good about itself after signing the Brazilian 21-year-old from Santos a few weeks ago. He not only won the Golden Ball trophy at the Confederations Cup with four goals in five matches, but he displayed some phenomenal passing skills.
3. Play of the Final: David Luiz's incredible goal-line clearance to prevent Spain from tying it up 1-1. Amazing reflexes and quick thinking. Had Spain tied, the momentum of the game may have shifted. Instead, Brazil stayed pumped and Neymar's goal to make it 2-0 widened the gap.
4. Daryl Shore is out as coach of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Hate to see nice guys lose their jobs, but winning is key in sports and Strikers didn't do enough of it this Spring. Best wishes to Shore and the Strikers as they part ways.
5. The 12 teams playing in the upcoming Gold Cup released their rosters. Reminder that Sun Life Stadium hosting Gold Cup doubleheader July 12: Haiti vs. Trinidad & Tobago and Honduras vs. El Salvador. To see the complete 23-man rosters announced by each team, please follow this link.
I have no idea how this will all shake out, but I do know that it's very interesting and promising to have Beckham in town for 5 days touring the city and talking soccer with Marcelo Claure, a true soccer guy with tons of passion to bring a team to Miami, loads of connections, and pockets deep enough to make it happen.
I am still not completely sold on either of those venues, and not 100 percent convinced that Miami fans who care deeply about international soccer will be loyal fans of a domestic league. But with the right owners, the right stadium, and some big-name players (Miami will settle for nothing less than at least a few marquee names), anything's possible.
I do know European and South American players LOVE to visit Miami. Many have condos here. They take holiday here. If they had a chance to play here on a team owned by Beckham, some may bite.
Time will tell. What do you think? You think it could work? Where do you think they should play? Would Marlins Park work? Share your views...
So, I raced out of the new Doral Herald office at 5:20 p.m. Thursday and spent an hour in the car getting to AmericanAirlines Arena for the Big Beckham Moment. David Beckham was in town exploring MLS expansion with local cell phone mogul Marcelo Claure, and the two of them were going to the Heat-Pacers game together. Word from high up in the Claure camp was that Beckham would take a few moments to come outside Gate 4 and greet a group of Miami MLS soccer fans who had made special posters to greet the icon.
So, we all waited -- the fans and media -- outside Gate 4 for TWO AND A HALF HOURS...and neither Beckham nor Claure ever came out. They were inside hobnobbing, and sitting courtside while the fans outside were getting more deflated by the minute. I was disappointed and annoyed, but at least I was being paid to be there. I felt really bad for those poor soccer-loving souls who spent the past 3 days spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter, encouraging fans to go out and show Beckham some love, only to get ignored.
At one point, a handler came out to assess the crowd (75 people, not exactly a mob), and said Beckham's security people were figuring out logistics.
At 9 p.m., the soccer fans rolled up their banners and headed home. I have to say, it was not a good start for the Miami MLS bid. It would have taken 5 minutes max for Beckham and/or Claure to come out and say Thank You to the supporters for taking the time to be there. Loyalty is a two-way street.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Becks is visiting Miami this week and will be attending the Heat-Pacers game Thursday night as the guest of Marcelo Claure, the Bolivian billionaire owner of Brightstar Communications who in 2009 tried to bring an MLS team to Miami. The connection of Claure and Beckham has local fans atwitter.
MLS has announced that its next expansion team will be in New York City in 2015 -- co-owned by the Yankees and Manchester City. Atlanta and Orlando have been ahead of Miami on the list for future expansion, but Beckham's interest in Miami cannot be ignored. And Claure is a true soccer guy, former player and owns Bolivar. He also has very deep pockets and friends with very deep pockets.
A grassroots fan group called MLS Miami Bid set up a Facebook page and is calling on local fans to rally for Beckham and MLS on the steps of AmericanAirlines Arena Thursday night. Of course, Beckham may not see the rally if they hold it on the steps, as he surely will enter through the underground parking lot and a VIP entrance. Perhaps they should park themselves at the entrance to the VIP parking lot :)
In other local soccer news, the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers play FC Dallas tonight in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. NASL vs. MLS. Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
The national teams of Germany and Ecuador play a friendly Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. at FAU Stadium. Germany will be without 15 regulars, as they were wrapping up club commitments.
MLS announced on Tuesday that there will be a second team in New York co-owned by Manchester City and the NY Yankees. The team, which is due to begin play in 2015, will be called New York City Football Club and already has a website www.nycfc.com . There are plans for a new stadium.
Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner of the New York Yankees, said: “We are pleased to be associated with this major move by MLS to increase its presence in New York and to enhance the opportunity for New York soccer fans to enjoy high-level play in their own city.
“We look forward to working with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York.”
MLS commissioner Don Garber said: “We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer. This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country.”
City are in New York, preparing for friendlies against Chelsea in St Louis and New York this week.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers host the Laredo Heat (PDL) in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium. The tournament began last week, the six domestic NASL teams join in the secod round and the 16 domestic MLS come in at the third round. If the Strikers win tonight, they will host FC Dallas next Tuesday night at Lockhart.
Miami United, a semi-pro team which plays in the NPDL, has its home opener against the Georiga Revolution Sunday May 26 at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah. Tickets are $5 and college students get in free with school ID. Miami is 1-0-1 this season after a season-opening 3-0 win over Cape Coral Hurricanes and a 0-0 tie with the Tampa Marauders.
The team features many international players, including former Miami Fusion and Honduran national team forward Saul Martinez. Others include: Simone Quintieri (Italian ex-serie A Indonesia and Serie B Italy Livorno), Daniele Fortunato (Italian ex Glasgow Rangers And Pescara), Hondurans Erick Vallecillo, Henry Martinez, Carlos Palacios (calolo), and Colombian Jimmy Asprilla. There are also players from Brazil, Africa,Venezuela, Argentina and the United States.
Back from vacation...heading to Notre Dame v Alabama national championship football game, but first...quick "futbol'' update. US coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced a 25-man roster for camp, which begins today, and upcoming Jan. 29 friendly against Canada in Houston. The roster includes 21 MLS players. It will be a chance for Klinsmann to evaluate MLS players before the first Hexagonal World Cup qualifier Feb. 6 at Honduras. Among the players on the roster is Weston midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who is currently a free agent and out of contract. The full roster: GOALKEEPERS (3): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) DEFENDERS (9): Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union) MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (out of contract), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)