Yes, Miami, it finally happened.
David Beckham was officially awarded a Miami Major League Soccer team Monday after a four-year odyssey beset by more twists and turns than he ever imagined when he smiled at a bayside news conference on Feb. 5, 2014, and announced his plans.
Many South Florida fans and observers worldwide had given up hope on the seemingly never-ending project, but the English soccer icon and his partners finally checked all the boxes to the liking of MLS officials, who had been cautious in awarding the 25th franchise after the league's original Miami team, the Miami Fusion, folded in 2002 following its fourth season.
The new team is scheduled to begin play in 2020, probably at a temporary site until the permanent stadium is ready in 2021. The team name, logo and colors will be rolled out in the next few months, with input from fans, according to Beckham and his co-owners. There have been hints black and white will be in the color scheme.
Beckham's team became a reality at a glitzy noon ceremony at the Adrienne Arsht Center. An audience of 1,700 and 300 media members were on hand for the big moment, when MLS Commissioner Don Garber gave Beckham and his partners league scarves as a sign of the done deal. A special piece of music by Emilio Estefan played in the background
"Luckily, this four years of pain, at times, has taught me that sometimes you go through certain moments where it's difficult," Beckham told the Herald minutes before the ceremony. "I look at the past four years and see the positive. There's a reason why it's taken this long. If I hadn't gone through those times, I wouldn't have met these guys (pointing to Miami co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas), guys who are passionate about this city and this sport. It's like the weather (Monday). You walk out the door and it's raining, then you walk out another door and it's sun. That's kind of like the journey it's been the last four years. There have been moments I got off a phone call and I'm excited and it's happening, and I wake up the next morning and it's all gone."
Beckham confirmed he will oversee the soccer aspect of the team, and he plans to be a very hands-on owner.
"Anything I do in my life -- business, family, I'm in 120 percent," Beckham said. "And that's the only way I see to be successful. As for my involvement, I've played this game for many years. I've been lucky to have played in some of the biggest clubs in the world, under some of the biggest managers, with some of the best players. So, my experience is in football, so that is what I bring this ownership group.
"We have powerful people in our group who understand the city, the sport, business, tech world. I'm going to be spending a huge amount of time here. I've said every time we sat down to talk, I love this city. I've gotten to know it even more over the past four years."
Asked whether he has heard from any players who want to join his club, Beckham smiled and said: "I've been hearing from players for the last four years, from the moment we announced, I had players on the phone to me. Obviously, I won't say who they are, but we have a lot of work to do before we get to that point."