David Beckham has pledged that his new Major League Soccer team in Miami will be a “global team” like the huge European clubs where he became a superstar.
The former England and Manchester United star says he already has big-name players phoning him up.
“I wanted to create a team where we can start from scratch,” Beckham told a packed press conference at a downtown Miami art museum on Wednesday, explaining his decision to bring the expanding league’s 22nd soccer club to the city.
“I know there was a team here 10 years ago that unfortunately folded, but I know that Miami is ready for football again,” he said.
“We’re planning to bring a team that will be a global team,” he said, arguing that soccer had made huge progress in the US as both a sport and a business.
The former England midfielder said one of his partners would be British pop music and television impresario Simon Fuller, who managed Beckham’s wife, Victoria, when she sang with the Spice Girls.
Beckham, who reportedly paid a cut-price $US25 million ($A28.14 million) for the franchise, said his wife and family would join him in Miami.
He also hopes LeBron James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player who stars for the champion Miami Heat, will join him in the ambitious venture.
“If LeBron comes on, that’d be amazing because people love him in the city and people love him in sports,” Beckham said.
James, already a minority investor in English Premier League giants Liverpool, has made no secret of his interest in Beckham’s project, telling reporters in November he was in talks with Beckham.
While Beckham did not disclose when the yet-to-be-named team would be ready for action, reports suggest it will be in 2016 or 2017.
“This is going to be a people’s team,” he told a throng of media, as a helicopter buzzed overhead and a small plane whizzed past dragging a banner that read “Beckham, don’t trust Gimenez”, referring to Miami Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez.
The former United and Real Madrid star said he had high hopes for the MLS, where he featured for LA Galaxy before retiring last year following a stint with Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’ve seen the change over the last 10 years. I’ve seen the change in this league, the interest in this league,” the 38-year-old said.
“We want to bring some of the best football players in the world, great players, to this team. Players are already interested in coming to Miami.”
Beckham spoke to reporters alongside MLS commissioner Don Garber, who said Beckham and the league would work with Miami Dade county to build a world-class downtown stadium for the new club.
Beckham said he would not seek public funding for the team’s stadium, having raised money from private partners.