Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that David Beckham has exercised his option for an MLS expansion team and has chosen Miami as the home of the new club.
Beckham's ownership group will now work with MLS as well as local officials in Miami in an effort to secure a deal for a new soccer stadium.
"We appreciate all that David has done as a player, an ambassador and as a global icon to help grow Major League Soccer," MLS commissioner Don Garber said. "We are thrilled that he will be an owner, and we look forward to him helping us achieve our goal of being one of the top soccer leagues in the world."
Beckham became the first Designated Player in MLS in 2007 when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, with his contract including an option to own an MLS team when his playing career was done.
The England international led the Galaxy to a pair of MLS Cup titles during his six seasons with the club, while the rest of his 20-year playing career included stops at Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan before he finished his career with a brief spell at French side PSG.
"From the beginning of my career in England to today in Miami, my journey has always been driven by my incredible passion for the game," said Beckham. "Miami is a vibrant, diverse community that thrives on the same type of energy that fuels the international appeal of soccer, and I look forward to a dedicated, long-term partnership with this dynamic city and Major League Soccer. My 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 league currently has 19 clubs with two additional expansion franchises, New York City and Orlando, set to begin play in 2015.
Major League Soccer is also planning to add three more teams by 2020 to take the total number of clubs to 24, with Beckham's Miami franchise included in that group pending finalization of a new stadium.