MIAMI - Expect Major League Soccer to return to South Florida by 2020, say members of MLS Miami Bid, a group dedicated to bringing a club to Miami.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced that the league will expand to 24 teams by 2020 (New York City FC begin play in 2015). The Miami Fusion F.C. played its last season in Fort Lauderdale in 2001.
"The Miami Fusion were on the right path in 2001 but they pulled the plug too soon," Ed Serrano with MLS Miami Bid wrote in an email to Local 10. "I believe MLS realized it was a mistake contracting that team and that's why they want to come back."
Serrano heads the group with Julio Caballero and Brian Corey.
"Miami is a top TV market that MLS will need to have so they can obtain a more lucrative TV deal," said Serrano.
Former England star David Beckham is reportedly considering Miami as a destination for his MLS team. When Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, his contract gave him the option to purchase a franchise.
Beckham was in South Florida during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, and during his visit, he toured Florida International University with billionaire Marcelo Claure, who owns Bolivian team Club Bolivar.
"Beckham is a walking billboard that will get MLS the free publicity they need. They'll get it here in the states and across the pond," said Serrano. "Miami is known as a tough sports market but if anyone can make a team in South Florida work it's got to be Becks."
Serrano added that for a club to succeed in South Florida, it'll need a soccer-specific stadium.
"Any team that wants to make some money needs their own stadium," said Serrano. "They can start at FIU, no doubt, but they'll eventually have to find a permanent home."
Copyright 2013 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.