CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham's former boss is confident that the English superstar will make a difference in MLS as owner of a new team in South Florida.
“He'll do well,” Bruce Arena, who coached Beckham with the LA Galaxy from late in the 2008 season through the 2012 MLS Cup championship, said following his team's closed-door match Wednesday at StubHub Center against Chivas USA.
“I don't know exactly how that ownership group is set up, but David's presence in that market will make it a legitimate product and give it the best opportunity to succeed in Miami.”
Wednesday's announcement that Beckham had exercised his option to purchase an MLS club, part of the deal he signed with the league when he joined the Galaxy in 2007, revealed that Simon Fuller, Beckham's business partner and longtime friend, and Bolivian wireless telecommunications tycoon Marcelo Claure, who lives in South Florida, would also be part of the ownership group.
Beckham, who retired as a player after a half-season with Paris Saint-Germain following his departure from the Galaxy, said in a statement announcing the club that his “experience with the Galaxy is what convinced me that I wanted to one day own an MLS team, and it is thrilling to now see that dream coming true.”
The Miami Fusion were an MLS team in South Florida, a notoriously difficult market, from 1998 through 2001, and although Arena says it is too soon to declare the new project a success – “maybe three years down the road we can talk about it,” he said – he noted that Beckham has qualities that ought to prove profitable for the new venture.
“I think it's called David Beckham,” Arena said. “It's charisma. He's a global brand, he brings credibility to the marketplace for MLS. You know, that's hard to do. There's not many people in this sport or in the world that have his brand, and I think it's going to make for an exciting venture there and, hopefully, a successful one.”