Beckham, Miami Are #22 Caliber

Don Garber, David Beckham, Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez

We don’t know exactly when, but Major League Soccer is back in Miami. Just over 12 years after the contraction of MLS’ original South Florida team, the Fusion, the league announced Wednesday morning that its 22nd team, one owned by David Beckham, will join the league….at some point.

No time frame was given, as everything hinges on negotiations for a stadium site (Beckham said during the presser that they won’t be looking for public funding). With Orlando and New York City FC joining in 2015, the league will be at 21 teams. While a symmetrical 22 would be great, it seems highly unlikely for 2015 and more likely for 2016 at the earliest. (Beckham even joked, “Obviously, we can’t build a stadium in two weeks,” even though that’s what Sacramento is apparently planning to do for its USL Pro team.)

Here’s a look at how long MLS’ previous 13 expansion clubs took from their official announcement to their first league match:

# Announced Team Came From? 1st Game Days
22 2/5/2014 Miami Expansion ???? ????
21 11/19/2013 Orlando USL Pro *3/7/2015 473
20 5/21/2013 New York Expansion *3/7/2015 655
19 5/7/2010 Montreal NASL 3/10/2012 673
18 3/20/2009 Portland USL First Division 3/19/2011 729
17 3/18/2009 Vancouver USL First Division 3/19/2011 731
16 2/28/2008 Philadelphia Expansion 3/25/2010 756
15 11/13/2007 Seattle USL First Division 3/19/2009 492
14 7/18/2007 San Jose II Expansion 4/3/2008 260
13 5/11/2006 Toronto Expansion 4/7/2007 331
12 8/2/2004 Chivas USA Expansion 4/2/2005 243
11 7/14/2004 Salt Lake Expansion 4/2/2005 262
12 4/9/1997 Miami# Expansion 3/21/1998 346
11 4/9/1997 Chicago Expansion 3/21/1998 346
*Tentative
#Later contracted along with Tampa Bay

The “from scratch” expansion teams have had an average of about 400 days from announcement to first kick. The “promoted” teams from lower divisions have had about 619 days.

Beckham, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez seemed optimistic that negotiations could go fairly quickly (and when you’re not asking for public money, I guess it helps). How quickly, we’ll see. It’s a funny game.

9 thoughts on “Beckham, Miami Are #22 Caliber”

  1. Interestingly, none of the three new clubs have permanent stadia ready yet. NYCFC will almost certainly play in Yankee Stadium for a year or two, and I doubt Orlando’s new stadium will be ready by ’15. And Miami is still negotiating!

  2. Yep. NYCFC has no clear path to a stadium yet. Orlando will PROBABLY not be in their own yard for 2016, but will play in a renovated Citrus Bowl in 2015. It’s highly possible Miami won’t even take the field until there’s a stadium solution, as they have put no timetable on their entrance.

  3. Why can’t they play in Joe Robbie Stadium until they build one?

    I seem to recall it was built to be able to hold international football matches.

    After living down there for four years, I still think that this is going to end up like the Fusion.

  4. I think one thing they have going for them is that the soccer landscape in this country has changed a bit since 2001 (thankfully). I am not sure the Fusion is of much use other than a cautionary tale about how not having smart people running your club hurts you. Duh.

    What was JRS is far too big and is owned by Stephen Ross (hey, what happened to that, anyway? Wasn’t Ross supposed to be going after an MLS team? Or was that just to get stadium improvements?). Just because it exists doesn’t make it a great deal.

    Saying they could play at JRS until they get a stadium built is like saying DC United can play at RFK until they get theirs built. They have. But it has hurt them.

  5. FIU Stadium could be a possibility, I guess, except of course it’s used for (American) football, too, in the fall. Maybe FC Miami United FC could play at Sun Life after September? (And, yes, I used “FC” twice in the name. Very Euro, dont’cha know.)

  6. Play at FIU (holds about 20K, and has hosted some Gold Cup matches) in spring/summer, Sun Life in the fall.

    Or even better: build the damn stadium and *then* join MLS, in 2017 or so.

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