Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber on Friday reiterated that the league favors the proposed Port of Miami site, or another downtown waterfront site, for David Beckham’s team.
MLS and soccer icon Beckham announced in February that he had exercised his option to buy an expansion team, and the proposed location for the team is Miami. Beckham is enamored with Miami’s waterfront, strongly believes in South Florida as a soccer market, and feels a stadium in the heart of the city with a view of the skyline is ideal.
But he has run into opposition for the Port of Miami site.
Garber, speaking during his annual meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors, said he and league officials don’t “believe any site other than the downtown site will work for us.” But, he added, there are other waterfront sites “that might make sense.”
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Beckham and Miami-Dade County have been negotiating for a few months, and are believed to have a summer deadline to reach an agreement.
“There’s not a specific timetable in terms of days or weeks of months,” Garber said. “But David has exercised his option. He has a period of time in which to finalize an ownership group, round out his ownership group and finalize a site, and we can’t let that option hang out forever.”
New York City and Orlando will join the league in 2015, and Atlanta is scheduled to begin play in 2017. The Miami team would likely start in 2017 or 2018.
Each of the 32 World Cup teams must submit its preliminary 30-man roster to FIFA by May 13, and the final 23-man roster is due June 2. The World Cup opens June 12.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his team will convene in Stanford, Calif., for a training camp May 14, and Klinsmann said he already has a good idea which 30 players will make his first cut.
“If it was tomorrow, I’d give you the 30 names,” Klinsmann said on USsoccer.com “But, obviously, we want to see a couple of more things over the next couple weeks. But we are close, very close to have a really clear idea about those 30 guys.”
The U.S. team plays three World Cup tuneups against Azerbaijan on May 27 in San Francisco; Turkey on June 2 in Harrison, N.J.; and Nigeria on June 7 at Jacksonville.
Neymar on Brazil
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari announced the obvious last week when he confirmed superstar Neymar would be among nine players who will definitely make Brazil’s World Cup team.
The nine players he confirmed for the team are: Neymar, David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires, Willian, Paulinho, Julio Cesar, Thiago Silva, and Fred.
Scolari said the four players he is considering for captain are Silva, Luiz, Cesar and Fred. Silva was the captain in recent friendlies. Scolari is expected to name his 23-man squad on May 7.
Brazil plays exhibitions against Panama and Serbia and opens the World Cup against Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo.
Lampard to LA?
There are reports out of London that Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard may be headed to MLS to play for the L.A. Galaxy, where Beckham played before he retired last year. Lampard, 35, has had reduced playing time this season and has been rumored to be making the move to L.A. this summer.
David Moyes, who was hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to replace him at Manchester United, lasted only 10 months as manager. It was the third-shortest coaching stint in ManU history and the shortest in 82 years.
Moyes was fired last Tuesday with a 27-9-15 record. The storied club slipped to seventh in the Premier League standings, 13 points behind Arsenal with four matches to go. It will be the first time since 1995 that the team fails to qualify for the Champions League. It is also the first time in league history Manchester United finishes outside the Top 3.
Player-coach Ryan Giggs will be in charge until a permanent manager is named.
“[The club] would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role,’’ said a press release.
Among the possible successors: Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal, Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, Atletico Madrid’s manager Diego Simeone and Paris St-Germain’s Laurent Blanc.
Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova died Friday at age 45 after a long battle with throat cancer. He coached Barca one season, in 2012, and won the league title.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said in a statement: “Tito Vilanova, a human role model and a football icon. Thanks for everything you have taught us. Rest in peace.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wrote on Twitter: “Tito Vilanova’s passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends. On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time.”
Lionel Messi said: “Very difficult to forget you. We will always remember. All my love to Tito’s family.”