For David Beckham, the clock may be running down on a Miami stadium deal for his long-awaited Major League Soccer franchise.
But, as Empire of Soccer’s Jake Nutting says, another option may be on the table – a partnership with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
“Only a little under a month into formally launching their campaign to bring the league back to Tampa Bay,” Nutting writes, “the Rowdies say they have contacted David Beckham a few times to gauge his interest in checking out what they’ve built on the west coast of the state.”
In an interview, Rowdies owner Bill Edwards said he’d “more than entertained” the suggestion to call Beckham over his trouble finalizing the Miami stadium deal – even going as far as dialing up the English soccer superstar.
“That’s come up so many times and there have been so many letters saying ‘Why doesn’t Beckham come to St Petersburg?” Edwards told EoS. “The answer is yes, we have. We’ve tried to reach out to no avail, but [Beckham] should just come visit and take a look.”
To contact Beckham, Edwards also enlisted the help of another past England national team star — Rowdies midfielder and former Premier League champion Joe Cole.
“We’ve got one of [Beckham’s] former teammates here — Joe Cole,” Edwards explained. “They played for years together. Joe’s reached out. They’re old friends. I can’t tell you what Joe and he said to each another, but we do know that Joe has done that.”
Last month, MLS Commissioner Don Garber put a time limit on a prospective MLS stadium in Miami.
“There is a deadline on the Miami deal,” Garber said to reporters after a meeting in Toronto. If Beckham fails to meet that as-yet-unspecified deadline, MLS owners may have to turn to an alternative for an expansion franchise to become the league’s 24th team.
Edwards acknowledged that he is not sure if Beckham’s franchise rights are transferable, or if the bid is exclusively for South Florida. Nevertheless, he is certainly interested in pursuing the idea further.
“We’d love to see him come on over and say hello,” Edwards said. “Even if he didn’t join us.”