Around the MLS: Beckham’s Miami side given green light, Dutch international joins Toronto FC

By Andrew Chaput

On 29 January, it was announced that the MLS will be expanding its league by adding a 24th team. This expansion team will land in Miami, and will be co-owned by David Beckham, Simon Fuller, Marcelo Claure, Jorge & Jose Mas, and Massayoshi Son. These groups of owners are known as Miami Beckham United. David Beckham is the star of this expansion, and will be the main attraction and driver behind Miami having a strong fan base, will influence league decisions, and attract foreign players to the States.

This will be a significant decision in the league. Unlike every other football league on Earth, there is no promotion and relegation. When a team is added to the MLS, they are in it for good – unless they are disbanded or move locations. In all other major professional sport leagues in America, there are about 28-32 teams. Due to there being no promotion and relegation, every team added will slim every other teams chances of winning, and will most likely saturate much talent in the US.

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David Beckham’s Miami given MLS go ahead. Image: @MiamiHerald

However, you have to love this move. A team to Miami, owned by David Beckham. That is already the sexiest team to support in all major sports in the US. In a soccer happy community, this will bring a lot of fans and support around the club. This will create a larger following of the MLS because Miami is a great market, and Americans love David Beckham. With great success from a recent expansion team, Atlanta United FC – Miami will be hoping to get more of the same. Beckham will be able to influence other great world players to come play for him. Not a top 5 contestant for the Ballon d’Or, but potentially a player on the decline who is looking for to experience American life, and still wants to play football.

Now, there are many questions that are yet to be answered before the team is fully activated in 2020. What is their team name? With that, what will their color scheme, badges, and kits look like? When will their stadium be built? What will it look like? Maybe most anticipated, who will be their first BIG signing?

I’ll providing further news on the subject in future editions of my ‘Around the MLS’ column.

Toronto FC sign Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel
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Former Ajax full-back given the number nine. Image: @TorontoFC

Last week it was announced that Toronto FC have signed Dutch international defender, Gregory van der Wiel. The 30 year old looks healthy and fresh, and should still have a few good years in him. He was a graduate of the famed Ajax academy before making his big move to French giants, PSG. Since then he has played for Fenerbahce and and Cagliari, although only making 17 appearances between the two.

Gregory van der Wiel seemed to have lost interested in football after he left PSG, but hopefully can bring back some of his youth light heading to the MLS. Toronto FC are defending MLS Cup champions, and adding van der Wiel will only make them better. He brings a lot of experience from his time in Europe, and has 46 caps for his country. He was signed using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) by Toronto.  TAM is a given $100k every year for five years for every MLS club – it started in 2015. TAM is used to give more flexible spending to clubs to be able to influence more players to come to the states.

In any case, he looks a good, driven acquisition for The Reds.

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