Football: David Beckham's Miami MLS venture nears reality, Christian Pulisic voted best US player

The Major League Soccer (MLS) has approved the addition of three more partners to David Beckham consortium, which plans to bring an MLS club to Miami.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) has approved the addition of three more partners to David Beckham consortium, which plans to bring an MLS club to Miami.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - English football icon David Beckham has a new trio of partners in his bid to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) club to Miami.

The league said on Thursday (Dec 14) it had approved the addition to Beckham's ownership group of Jorge and Jose Mas, leaders of telecommunications giant MasTec, and SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son.

Beckham, Sprint chief executive and Brightstar founder Marcelo Claure and entertainment entrepreneur and manager Simon Fuller were all already part of the consortium which has been battling to secure a stadium site.

The group edged closer toward its goal earlier this year after securing a land deal for a proposed stadium project.

MLS commissioner Don Garber acknowledged earlier this month that the Miami franchise project was "the most complicated situation in any market that we've experienced", citing Miami's local political structure and it's fast-changing real estate environment.

Jorge and Jose Mas are Miami natives and two of its most prominent business executives, and bring a local presence to the ownership group that Garber said he believed would benefit the project.

Miami is currently slated to be the 24th MLS team, following the launch in 2018 of the Los Angeles Football Club, the 23rd club.

MLS chiefs will announce the 25th and 26th expansion teams before the end of the year from a shortlist of four candidates - Detroit, Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento.

However, Garber admitted this month that with approval of Beckham's Miami club still in limbo, one of the two new expansion franchises chosen this month could be bumped up the pecking order and be launched as the 24th team.

In other news, Christian Pulisic won US Soccer's Male Player of the Year award for 2017 in a landslide vote, becoming at 19 the youngest footballer to earn the honour.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder dominated the voting process, getting the nod from 94 per cent of those polled.

"It really is a big honour and I just want to thank everyone who voted for me to win US Male Player of the Year," Pulisic said in a statement on the US Soccer Federation website.

"It's something that I never could have imagined to be here in this position. I'm thankful for everyone who supported me and I'm excited for the future."

The previous youngest winner of the prize, first awarded in 1984, was Landon Donovan, who was 21 when he won in 2003.

In nine appearances for the United States in 2017, Pulisic has scored six goals. He delivered the decisive pass in four more, and figured in some form in 13 of the 17 goals scored during matches in which he played.

His emergence as a star was the sole bright spot for the United States team following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Those voting for the award included every player capped by the US in 2017, men's national team and youth national team coaches, Major League Soccer coaches and a select group of former players and media members.

On the club front, Pulisic ended his first full season with the Borussia Dortmund first team in 2016-17 by recording three goals in 25 matches across all competitions for the Bundesliga runners-up. He has continued to be a key figure for Dortmund this season.