After watching a series of games put on by Inter Miami CF’s inaugural Development Academy class a few weeks ago, owners Jorge Mas and David Beckham reflected on the Club’s six-year journey to bring MLS to South Florida.
Mas and Beckham expressed pride in Inter Miami’s efforts in developing both a professional First Team and a youth Academy and look toward the Club’s future with confidence.
Beckham said he had “no idea” how difficult it would be to start his team, admitting mistakes were made in the last six years since announcing his plan for an MLS franchise in Miami, Florida. But he said he believes the team is in a good place now.
The Academy event was the first time Inter Miami held a soccer event of any kind with its own players and fans–the family and friends who proudly supported the boys in pink from the stadium stands. It was evidence of the Club’s progress in its goal.
“I always knew it was worth it, and I always knew this was the place,” Beckham said. “That’s why I never walked away. That’s why I never ever turned around and said, ‘I’m done,’ because I knew this was the moment, and I knew that this was the right place.”
Inter Miami CF will transform Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart site into its permanent training complex with the addition of an 18,000-capacity stadium by February 2020, where it will launch its first two MLS seasons. The community will gain access to over 30 acres of green space to include proposed amenities such as youth soccer fields, a park and a community center when the project is complete.
The Lockhart site will remain the permanent training complex for the Clubs’ teams, including its youth Academy when Miami Freedom Park opens. Miami Freedom Park will become a recreation destination that all Miamians can enjoy, providing 58 acres of public parks and green space, a tech hub, restaurants and shops, soccer fields for the community, a soccer stadium for Miami’s own Inter Miami, and many more features.
Miami Freedom Park received overwhelming support from City of Miami residents, having received more than 60% voter approval last November’s referendum. With this vote, the residents have indicated that they want the City to negotiate and execute a lease for the proposed land for specific project.
“There was promises made,” Beckham said at the scrimmage event. “I always said, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’ I’m not from this part of the world, but soccer is my game, and I always knew that once people got it and once we got over the line that people would then be excited about it, people would then be energetic about it and we would have the support that we needed. And that’s been proven now.”