MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami Beckham United group continues to make its pitch for Major League Soccer in Miami, and now they may have a powerful new ally.
Outgoing University of Miami President Donna Shalala met with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, as well as Beckham investor Maurice Claure.
“I think it’s a good idea, something that I brought up to the Beckham group a long time ago,” said Gimenez.
He met Thursday with Shalala who also sits on US Soccer’s Board of Directors, at her request.
“The one thing I do support is the collaboration between Major League Soccer and UM. If that’s happening, that is a very good move that will make it closer to a 10 than a 1,” said Gimenez.
Brian Corey is a Co-founder of the official Miami MLS soccer fan club, the Southern Legion. He says David Beckham is also in town discussing the idea of UM pitching in for a new stadium so the school will have a smaller stadium for its football games, closer to campus.
“I think having UM as a partner only strengthens the bid in Miami. I think it’s absolutely guaranteed to happen,” Corey told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
No one is saying which location UM and the Beckham group may consider as a front-runner, but both a County Commissioner and the Southern Legion told Zea they believe the land west of Marlins Park is likely at the top of the list.
“The recommended site would be where the former Orange Bowl was which would be closer to UM than where they currently play, it would be a little more customized to the type of crowd they want,” said Corey.
That was however the same site that Beckham investor Simon Fuller once called “spiritually tainted.”
No matter where they are looking, a plan is being formulated.
Miami Beckham United released another vague statement reading in part. “We’re in the process of identifying viable sites and are entertaining a number of options. We look forward to sharing positive news with our fans soon.”
There is a big potential hurdle with UM as a partner. They are under long term contract with the Dolphins to play at Sunlife Stadium.
The same day as the high-powered meetings, the Hurricanes football program sent out a tweet Friday of their current home being renovated, saying “New stadium is gonna be 100 100, “implying that they’re all in where they are.
Gimenez added, “It’s in the cooking stage it’s not ready to serve yet.”
There’s no word whether Beckham’s group or the MLS Commissioner is meeting with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Mayor Gimenez had made it clear that the County will cooperate with Beckham’s group- but will not use public money for the stadium.