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David Beckham expected to take more active role in Inter Miami 2021 soccer decisions

Inter Miami CF co-owner David Beckham says, 'I'm not disappointed in any way possible' as he views the team and facilities at Inter Miami Stadium and Training Complex in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

Inter Miami fans can expect to see more of co-owner David Beckham next season. According to multiple league sources, Beckham will be taking a more hands-on approach on the soccer side of the club as part of the team’s front office restructuring.

The off-season overhaul began with the departure of Sporting Director and COO Paul McDonough. Fifteen players from the 2020 roster are gone. And the future of coach Diego Alonso remains uncertain.

Beckham’s six-year-long quest to launch an MLS team in Miami kicked off with worldwide hype and big expectations in early March, but the season did not go as anticipated.

Inter Miami’s long-awaited home debut was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team lost its first five games, and fell short of expectations as the season wore on. Miami finished 10th of 14 teams in the Eastern Conference and was knocked out of the playoffs with a 3-0 loss to fellow expansion club Nashville SC.

Beckham was highly visible in the lead-up to the season and watched proudly in a custom Ralph Lauren Inter Miami blazer at the team’s debut against Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium. He flew his entire family, including his parents, to South Florida for the scheduled home debut against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Although that game was called off, the Beckhams visited the stadium and took family photos as a memento of the historic day that never was. Once the season resumed in early July, he followed the team’s progress closely from England, posting Instagram photos of himself watching games in the middle of the night.

As the team’s struggles continued, Beckham’s public connections to the team became less and less visible. But he remained deeply invested in the club behind the scenes. He was said to be extremely disappointed in how the season ended and determined to help turn things around.

The club’s ownership group, led by Beckham, Jorge and Jose Mas and Marcelo Claure, spared no expense. They spent close to $100 million on a state-of-the-art training facility and temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale and signed one of the league’s most expensive rosters. Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain, who came in late-August from Italian powerhouse Juventus for $7 million a year, is the highest-paid MLS player.

Higuain played nine games for Inter Miami and his quality showed, but he scored just one goal on a free kick. He was suspended one game after receiving a red card for a post-match argument with a referee, and he missed the playoff game after testing positive for COVID-19.

After the season, the team declined the contract options of eight players, including captain/goalkeeper Luis Robles and forward Juan Agudelo. Four other MLS veterans were left out of contract — Wil Trapp, Brek Shea, A.J. De La Garza and Federico Higuain.

McDonough had brought in all those players a year ago, stressing the importance of MLS leadership on the roster. Two other MLS veterans — Roman Torres and Lee Nguyen — were traded earlier in the season.

Alonso was hired Dec. 30, 2019, just three weeks before training camp and after much of the roster had been signed. Three of the team’s top players — Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Blaise Matuidi and Higuain – did not join the club until Summer.

Less than a year later, on Dec. 14, 2020, Alonso left a season review meeting with team ownership thinking he had been fired. He told some players and members of the staff that he was gone. But the club quickly clarified that it was a “miscommunication,” that he had not been fired, and that his future with the team was “being determined.”

Since that day, Alonso’s name has come up for jobs with Penarol in Uruguay and Club America in Mexico.

Time will tell if Alonso stays or goes, and which new players will be signed. But one thing seems certain – Beckham will be closely involved in those decisions.

Source: Miami Herald

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