Fort Lauderdale, United States, Nov 13, 2019 (AFP) - David Beckham's Inter Miami Major League Soccer franchise will make their home debut against the superstar's former team Los Angeles Galaxy next year, team officials confirmed Wednesday.
Beckham's six-year quest to bring top level soccer back to South Florida will finally become a reality when the new season starts next February, although the team will begin the campaign on the road while the building of their Fort Lauderdale stadium is completed.
The 19,000-capacity stadium is currently under construction although club officials stress it will be finished in time for the opening home fixture on March 14.
"This is a historic day that our community has waited for, and we look forward to experiencing it together," Inter Miami official Jurgen Mainka said of the Galaxy fixture.
Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough meanwhile said Wednesday he has been working closely with Beckham as they attempt to build a squad capable of challenging in MLS.
McDonough, who performed similar roles at expansion teams Orlando City and Atlanta United, admits Beckham's availability and contacts could give Inter Miami a recruitment edge over their rivals.
The club have yet to appoint a manager but have begun to build a squad with highly-rated 19-year-old Argentine forward Matias Pellegrini arriving in July to become the franchise's first designated player (DP).
McDonough is confident of filling the remaining two DP slots and appointing a world renowned coach by the end of the year.
Colombian internationals Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, Uruguayan strikers Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani, as well as Manchester City's Spanish midfielder David Silva have all been linked with moves but Beckham's role in recruitment, however, is key.
McDonough told AFP: "I spoke to David this morning for an hour, even though he was travelling. I was updating him and getting his impressions on things. David isn't here in Miami every day but every day he has a touch point with the club.
"I asked him to call a couple of players I spoke to yesterday. I told him 'they want to hear from you' and so he's very involved. You cannot put a price on having someone of his standing in the game involved with us and being able to talk to players.
"It's amazing to think about the capacity he has to help out and what he can do for the team. I have been surprised by just how hands on he has been."
"I grew up watching him playing for Manchester United so when I came to the club and met him for the first time, the relationship began to grow but I have seen how enthused he is, how he wants to do things the right way and has a vision. It definitely gives us an edge."
McDonough was speaking to reporters during a media visit to Inter Miami's Fort Lauderdale stadium on Wednesday.
The team plan to play their first two MLS seasons at the stadium before moving into a $1 billion technology hub and stadium complex at the Melreese golf course near Miami airport.
However the Miami project has stalled amid red tape and political wrangling.