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Garber still confident of MLS future in Miami


speaks onstage at Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on October 25, 2017 in New York City.

Cindy Ord

It’s been months since we’ve heard anything concrete regarding Major League Soccer’s return to Miami, but MLS commissioner Don Garber believes that David Beckham’s ownership group is closer to its goal of a soccer-specific stadium, paving the way for an expansion franchise.

In an interview with ESPN, Garber said that he was confident “something is coming together” regarding Miami’s MLS future and that the major issues over the proposed stadium and ownership group have been resolved.

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“I’ve been saying all along we need a number of things to go forward with David Beckham and his option: a solid ownership group -- one that hopefully could be very connected locally -- and a finalized stadium plan,” Garber told ESPN. For many years now, we’ve not been able to close the loop on those two issues. I believe we are getting closer, and I believe we’ll have a team in Miami. Actually, I believe something is coming together rather soon.

“We had a meeting last August in which we presented an opportunity to the MLS Board of Governors, which they approved us pursuing, and we’re still trying to finalize the details of that.”

Just last week, Beckham’s ownership partner Tim Lieweke expressed doubts that the stadium come to fruition, with complaints from residents in the stadium neighborhood and a pending lawsuit from a local resident in the Miami area over a three-acre block of land that Miami-Dade County is selling to Beckham.

And with every month that passes, momentum for the ownership group and the potential franchise wanes, especially as folks still have hard feelings over how the former Miami Marlins ownership fleeced the city for their new stadium, only to put a poor product on the field.

So it remains to be seen how much longer Beckham, and MLS, is willing to wait for a stadium deal to formalize, before the league moves on to other cities who are vying for expansion franchises.