MIAMI – The time is finally here for Major League Soccer in Miami. Well, at least we think it is.
It's been almost four years since David Beckham rode through Miami with a fancy, bayside news conference proclaiming that MLS would be coming to South Florida soon.
He met with politicians, did numerous interviews with local media and even visited some Miami soccer parks to promote his product to hundreds of kids. It was all a crazy scene and an exciting time for Miami soccer fans.
Since then? It's been mostly silence from Beckham. No big visits. No media sessions. No community involvement to promote the franchise.
Instead, it's been failed bids at stadium locations, uncertainty about if and when the team would arrive, numerous changes to the potential ownership group and even a lawsuit from a local resident.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber patiently waited and claimed that all was still on track, despite a handful of other cities welcomed to the league as Miami just sat with little progress or news.
Now things seem to be ready to move forward. A big event and news conference is scheduled for Monday in Miami with Beckham and his ownership partners all expected to attend.
Garber will be there, along with many local politicians. It feels like 2014 all over again.
But will this be different?
While details of what will be discussed aren't clear yet, this needs to be more than just a "we're moving along and soccer should be here soon" type of event.
There needs to be a finality to this announcement. Garber must officially announce Miami as a new franchise. There needs to be a definitive start date for the team. Finally, there needs to be clarity to where the stadium will be and when they will break ground on it.
Sure, a team name would be nice and an idea about uniform colors, but this is more about making it clear this is really happening.
South Florida has waited long enough. To make this work it will take a complete commitment by this group. They'll have to make it a fun atmosphere and have progressive marketing that this is a different sports experience than we're used to. They need to make a commitment that good and potential star talent will be brought in eventually.
Soccer won't work here just going half in. That's why Monday is such an important step.
We've patiently waited and hoped this could really happen. I do believe soccer can work in the Miami market, especially with the Mas brothers now involved. I believe they'll have a real commitment to Miami. Now it's time for Beckham to step back into the spotlight and stay there.
No more disappearing acts and no more announcements where we're left with more questions than answers.
As they say, better late than never.
This is Beckham's time to finally show MLS soccer is coming.