David Beckham. You love him, I love him, and the nice old lady down the street definitely loves him.
The England legend is one of the most recognisable figures in the world of sport and showbiz, and although Beckham has been retired from the game for over five years now the former Manchester United number seven is still making waves in the world of football.
From helping charities across the world through the power of the beautiful game to recently receiving the UEFA President’s Award at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco, Beckham’s impact on the game proceeds his fame and glory off the pitch.
But his biggest contribution to the game is only just beginning.
In January of this year, it was finally announced that Beckham will be launching his own football team in the city of Miami with the aim to start playing professionally in MLS by 2020, and there is genuine excitement around this franchise in the American sports world.
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami - or Inter Miami as the team will be known - has attracted the attention of some of the biggest stars in the world. Will Smith, Jay-Z and Jennifer Lopez are just a few of the names that featured in the announcement video during the unveiling event for the new club.
And it isn’t just the rich and famous in Beckham’s phonebook that are excited about an MLS franchise in Miami. Football fans from every corner of Florida are buzzing to see what could potentially be the first American superclub since the days of the New York Cosmos in the 1960s and 70s.
One of these fans is Javier Valladares, an Orlando City supporter that is keen on seeing the growth of football in Florida.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, Valladares said: “In Miami, the excitement for this team is intense. But the thing I am seeing a lot of is non-soccer fans getting interested in the team due to the popularity and pull Beckham has on the public.
“I believe when the first ball is kicked the club will bring the same intensity and passion Atlanta United brought to the league last year, but better. With a man like Beckham behind this project, anything is possible.”
Room for Scepticism
But not everybody is fully convinced. Gabriel Colon, a USSF coach for Florida Rush Soccer, told GiveMeSport that Futbol Miami has some making up to do due to former teams in the city failing to meet expectations.
Colon said: “The hype is tangible. Some fans are sceptical due to the previous failings of Miami Fusion FC in 2001 and this could impact the growth of Beckham’s new club.
“That’s not to say I want the team to fail, far from it. I hope the franchise will become one of the most recognisable in the United States. With Beckham as the owner, fans expect the club to become a commercial giant and to produce a team that competes for titles.”
Simple steps for worldwide domination
So, how does Beckham’s Miami franchise meet expectations and potentially become the biggest club in the Americas?
For starters, the club needs to attract a global superstar to bring in as its poster boy for the inaugural season, and this could realistically be the easiest step of them all.
MLS has grown leaps and bounds since Beckham joined the league in 2007, with younger and better players joining the league at a steady stream and both TV and stadium attendance figures increasing every season.
This incredible growth could see a genuine world-class player deciding to break from tradition and join an American team in the prime of their career rather than when they’re in their late 30s, and with someone as influential as Beckham running the show, don’t be surprised to see a big name come to the Eastside sooner rather than later.
The next step will be for Inter Miami to establish themselves as THE sports franchise to support in the city of Miami. This is a feat Atlanta United were able to achieve when they joined MLS in 2017, but for Inter Miami, though, the task could be a lot easier to achieve.
Due to the large Hispanic and Latino communities in Miami, attracting a sizeable number of passionate football fans could easily be achieved if the club taps into what supporters in the city want to see.
Football in America was changed forever when Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007, and 11 years later, England’s most famous sporting product could change the landscape of the sport in the US for the second time.