Beckham looks to revolutionize soccer in Florida, Inter Miami season underway

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia
Published: Updated:
(Center) owner David Beckham with Inter Miami CF at home stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Credit: WINK News.

David Beckham is one of soccer’s biggest stars. Now, with the help of a few investors, Beckham is trying to revolutionize the sport in Florida.

We went behind the scenes at Inter Miami CF’s s new stadium in the works in Fort Lauderdale Monday.

Beckham is done playing, but, with the Major League Soccer season underway, he embarks on his new chapter in soccer as the owner of Inter Miami. And mural’s on buildings in South Florida are indicators the team has already begun to build its fan base across the region.

“We’re all about family within this club,” Beckham said.

And this is a major opportunity for all involved with Beckham.

“I actually think my wife is more excited for me than I was,” said Luis Robles, the Inter Miami team captain. “But, nonetheless, he’s a very iconic figure. And what he’s been able to accomplish on and off the field is truly amazing.”

And Inter Miami and Beckham are finally seeing the physical results of dedication to bringing the club to South Florida.

“Ten months ago when we actually stood on this facility, you know with weeds growing out the ground, tumbleweeds growing past us, and now to see what’s been created,” Beckham said.”Obviously, it’s a very proud moment.”

Soccer is growing in popularity in the United States, but it’s always been a big sport in Florida.

According to FIFA, 30% of all youth soccer players come from South Florida.

“When you have that kind of support, when you have people coming up to you and giving you that support, it’s what you want,” Beckham said. “And that’s what spurred me on to continue fighting to get this club.”

Kids, teens, even adults will now have their MLS team to look up to and root for in South Florida.

“We want to be South Florida’s team,” said Paul McDonough, Inter Miami’s sporting director. “It’s a very large area because we stretch all the way over to Naples and Sarasota and West Palm Beach and all the way south to Homestead, so we have to grow our club in all the areas of South Florida.”

They plan to reach all areas McDonough mentioned to us.

“Our team will travel around and be in areas where we can expose and so more people can see us,” he said.

Beckham’s star power and connections are big aspects of the team’s appeal, and it’s something Inter Miami is proud of.

“I think it’s because David spent so much time working at this,” McDonough said. “And he was super passionate about it, and the fans they relate to him. They want him to succeed, and they were just waiting for a team.”

The new team is ready for fans at its home in Fort Lauderdale at Inter Miami CF Stadium, the former grounds of Lockhart Stadium.

“Seven soccer fields, an 18,000-seat stadium, with 23 suites, a full press level, lights, sound system and two massive video boards,” McDonough said. “So we’ve done all of that in about eight months.”

When we visited, there was still a lot of construction underway, but Inter Miami is expected to be ready for it inaugural home game Saturday, March 14.

“People have been waiting for this in South Florida,” McDonough said. “And, you know, there was a team here a long time ago, but the league has grown, and it’s so much further along now.”

McDonough is positive about the future of Inter Miami.

“So I think as the league grows and we get better players, better stars, more resources, better ownership groups, then the game continues to grow because we’re able to expose it to more people,” McDonough said.

More than the facility, Beckham said he’s most proud of the Inter Miami family, from the players to the fans who have supported his dream along the way.

“Someone turned around to me the other day and said, ‘What would be success for this team and this club and this franchise?'” Beckham said. “For me, on the 14 of March when we step out onto our stadium in front of our fans, for me that’s success because I know what it’s taken to get here.”

LA Galaxy, Bekham’s former team in the MLS, is set to visit Fort Lauderdale for Inter Miami’s first game at home in the league this Saturday, a full-circle moment of sorts. The game is sold out, but tickets are available anywhere from $100 to $1,000 on the secondary market.

“You know, the thing for me was when David came and he saw for the first time, and he was just like, ‘Wow,’ and I said ‘It’s pretty good?'” McDonough said. “He said, ‘Come on. It’s more than pretty good, and I said, ‘Yeah it is.'”

Of course Beckham is someone who has played in amazing facilities.

“Big clubs, for me, when David was taken back by it, then I think it was a really good sign that we did well,” McDonoaugh said.

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