SBD/May 31, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Beckham Exploring MLS In Miami; Time For Garber To Intervene With Chivas USA?

Beckham is researching expansion cities including Miami, Orlando and San Antonio
David Beckham was "exploring possible Major League Soccer expansion" in Miami on Thursday and sat courtside for Pacers-Heat Game 5 as a guest of Brightstar Communications CEO Marcelo Claure, who "tried in 2009 to bring an MLS team" back to the market, according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. A possible MLS partnership between Claure and Beckham "has local fans abuzz." A group "calling itself 'MLS Miami Bid' organized a pre-game rally to welcome Beckham to Miami and display the local fans’ passion for the game." Beckham is "said to be researching Miami, Orlando, San Antonio and a few other cities" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/31). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Schlueb & Damron report Orange County (Fla.) Mayor Teresa Jacobs on Thursday wrote to USL Orlando City Soccer Club Owner & President Phil Rawlins to say she is "fast-tracking" a plan for a proposed soccer-specific stadium. The move is a "big score for a minor-league soccer team trying to gain entry" into MLS as an expansion franchise (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/31).

TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A.: In L.A., Kevin Baxter writes it has become "baffling" why MLS Commissioner Don Garber does not step in and put Chivas USA and its fans "out of their misery." The team has the worst record in the Western Conference, "hasn't made the playoffs or had a winning record since 2009, has no local broadcasting deal, does not have its own stadium and has been the league's worst draw the last two seasons -- home attendance of 8,045 is off more than 38% from last season's dismal showing." Chivas USA over the last two-and-a-half years has "totally remade its front office twice." New head coach Jose Luis Real, who was hired to replace Jose Luis Sanchez Solá after he was fired on Wednesday, "becomes the ninth manager in the team's nine-year history -- and the third in six months." Still, that "qualifies as stability" compared with team Owner Jorge Vergara's track record with his other team -- Liga MX club Chivas de Guadalajara. Vergara, since taking over CD Guadalajara in '02, has "made 16 coaching changes." Garber and the league "should step in now before Vergara has a chance to equal that record with his MLS team" (L.A. TIMES, 5/31).
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