David Beckham's Miami MLS Team Planning Training Facility, Academy In Fort Lauderdale
David Beckham's six-year plan to build a soccer stadium in Miami cleared major hurdles last year, though a pending lawsuit could still stall or possibly stop it.
Meanwhile, the Major League Soccer team he's building is moving ahead with plans for a training facility, this week proposing to build on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Inter Miami's proposal calls for an 18,000-seat multipurpose sport stadium at the former Lockhart Stadium site, where past pro soccer teams — including the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the Miami Fusion — have played on and off since the 1970s.
Lockhart Stadium has been without a tenant since 2016 and is reportedly unkempt and dilapidated. Since 2010, two companies that build water parks, Schlitterbahn and Premier Parks, had battled over rights to expand there. Premier won in court, but its plan for a $50M park collapsed in August.
The Inter Miami MLS team would train at the Fort Lauderdale site, as would a United Soccer League reserve team. It would also serve as a youth academy where kids could play for free. Inter Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough said the location is central for South Florida and could draw academy players from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
“The most important pillar of our legacy is our youth academy, where future players will have the opportunity to train alongside the professionals and aspire to one day represent our community in front of their hometown crowd," McDonough said.
On social media, some fans were skeptical of the news, suggesting that pro soccer has been tried multiple times and failed, whereas Miami has a bigger population and a stronger Latino, and soccer-crazy, culture. They wondered why the team would build major playing fields in both Broward and Miami-Dade (where the proposed new stadium will part of a $1B mixed-use project called Miami Freedom Park) and wondered if the Fort Lauderdale site would draw important, international games northward.