MIAMI - Soccer legend David Beckham said the delayed launch of a Major League Soccer team in Miami has actually made the project stronger.
"It has been a process. It's been painful at times," Beckham told Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg in an exclusive interview Sunday. "I think the fact that it has taken this long, the fact that it's taken four years actually has worked as a positive."
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Beckham said the delay has allowed him to get to know Miami better and better understand what fans want from their hometown soccer team.
"I've always believed in the project. That's why, for me, I never gave up," Beckham said. "I knew Miami was the city. I knew this was going to be special."
Although he doesn't live in Miami yet, he said he would be spending much of his time in the city. At noon on Monday, he said he expects to both officially receive his Major League Soccer franchise and reboot his team launch, after some "only-in-Miami" kind of lessons.
"There have been many (hurdles)," Beckham said. "I'm a persistent person, and I don't like to lose."
Those hurdles made many headlines, including those about a series of beautiful bayside stadium sites lost in controversy over public land use, South Florida-style politics and bureaucracy. Big name investors have also come and gone, but original investors Marcelo Claure and Simon Fuller have stuck with Beckham.
"One thing that kept me going, kept me persistent when people said it's not going to happen, said to move on, is the fan support I've had has been incredible," he told Milberg.
The MLS board of governors recently approved a new ownership group that aims to celebrate the team's first game in a new Overtown stadium in 2020.
"This is our site," he said. "This is a site we paid for. This is a site we plan on using. We've always said we want to be downtown. Coming into a city like Miami, I want to be a good neighbor. We'll have people with different opinions. We will address them here."
Beckham, Claure and new investors Jorge and Jose Mas will unveil their plans for the new team at the event Monday. The team's official colors are expected to be revealed.
The Mas brothers are the sons of Jorge Mas Canosa, who founded the Cuban-American National Foundation. Claure is the founder and CEO of Sprint.
"There is a lot of power behind it -- a lot of passion," Beckham said.
He has a star athlete's determination to win.
"I'm invested in this project," Beckham said.
If all goes as planned, thousands of fans will be in attendance the moment Beckham gets his Miami franchise.
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