Beckham wants soccer team to begin play in Fort Lauderdale

Proposal would revitalize Lockhart Stadium as temporary home for MLS team

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Terrell Forney - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - David Beckham wants his soccer team to play in Fort Lauderdale until a new stadium in Miami is built.

Beckham announced his plan Wednesday to revitalize decaying Lockhart Stadium and bring his Major League Soccer team there for its inaugural season.

Lockhart Stadium would also serve as a training facility for Inter Miami CF and the home to its youth soccer academy.

"I think it's the perfect location," Beckham said. "It's a location we've been dreaming of. It's a location that we feel that gives the kids, the community, a real opportunity to live their dreams."

The stadium, which opened in 1959, was once home to another MLS team -- the defunct Miami Fusion -- from 1998 to 2001. It was also the longtime home of the North American Soccer League's Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Florida Atlantic's football team.

A view from Sky 10 of Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium in January 2019 shows it has become dilapidated and overgrown with shrubs since its last tenant moved out.

It has been without a tenant since 2016.

Currently, the field is a far cry from what it used to be.

The city of Fort Lauderdale owns the site, which is now vacant. The weeds on the field are overgrown at every turn and there's no denying the old stadium is an eyesoar.

"Unfortunately, to see the disrepair now, I look at this as a great opportunity," Beckham's partner, Jorge Mas, said. 

Beckham and Mas said they have a plan to turn the dilapidated site into their new state-of-the-art training academy.

Since details are still being worked out for the location, they hope the MLS team can play in Fort Lauderdale temporarily. 

"We need somewhere to play for the next two years, and we've tried to make it work and this is where we're at and where we feel the heart and soul of the organization will be," Beckham said. 

While Beckham toured the site Thursday, he and his ownership group made it clear they have not lost site on the permanent plan at Miami Freedom Park.

The plan to temporarily play at Lockhart Stadium would require city approval.

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