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By Alex Donno

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The dream of Marcelo Claure – David Beckham’s business partner – to bring an MLS club to Miami, was first born a decade ago.

Two months before Monday’s official announcement, the dream was nearly dead and buried.

Claure, the CEO of Sprint Corporation and co-founder of Brightstar Corp, told the story of how MLS soccer in Miami finally came to reality.

“All of you know it’s been a challenging road,” said Claure. “From finding the right land to build a stadium to making sure we supplement with the right ownership group, it has been a rocky road.”

Claure says the dream carried on because of “David Beckham’s unparalleled drive to not let anything get in the middle of him, his team, and the city of Miami.”

But in the end, it took a family from the city of Miami to make sure the dream came to light.

“I’m going to finish with a secret that nobody knows,” Claure said. “About sixty days ago, we were done. We gave up. We were not going to do this. We met with David for breakfast in a hotel in New York City to pretty much say goodbye. Then, we looked at each other and we said, ‘man, we just cannot give up. We have to find a way to bring soccer to Miami.'”

“Then I remembered that a few months ago I had gotten an email from the Mas brothers, wanting to talk about soccer. We all sat down and it was a magical moment. We found the missing link. We found the local partner who knows Miami and can supplement what we’re bringing to the table. If not for David (Beckham), Jorge and Jose (Mas), we wouldn’t be here today.”

Jorge is the Chairman of the Board and former CEO of Coral Gables based engineering and construction company MasTec. His brother, Jose, is the current CEO. Founded by their father Jorge Mas Canosa, MasTec is the second largest Hispanic-owned company in the United States.

The Mas family were among finalists to purchase the Miami Marlins, but lost out to Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman. Major League Baseball’s loss is Major League Soccer’s gain.

Jorge Mas explained why his family felt the need to get involved.

“On November 7th I sent Marcelo (Claure) an email and said that my brother, my family, Miami, and I, want this to happen. A week later we had dinner and two and a half months later we’re here announcing that we are Miami MLS!”

“Above all. Miami as a city; we are a winning city,” Mas proclaimed. “We deserve to be the best soccer city in the world.”

 

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