The temporary home of David Beckham’s MLS team is currently being torn down to be rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
On Wednesday, Inter Miami CF hosted a “Demolition Ceremony” at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Park that sets the stage for a new era of soccer in South Florida.
“Today is an extremely special day. Today is a day where the dream of soccer, of an MLS team for South Florida, becomes a reality,” Mas said. “We stand here at a site that holds the history of professional soccer in South Florida… today is a continuation of turning a new page on the history of this site.”
The new-look Lockhart Stadium will seat 18,000 when it opens for Inter Miami’s inaugural MLS season in 2020. The plan is for the club to play there for two years before transitioning to it’s permanent venue at Miami Freedom Park.
But the revamping goes beyond just the stadium. The 64-acre park is being transformed into a soccer hub. According to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, the $60 million in upgrades includes “training facilities, team offices, a youth soccer academy, multi-purpose community athletic fields and a major public park.”
Ray Hudson, a former MLS player, manager and commentator, is glad to see the historic site that’s been around for 60 years is finally getting the makeover it deserved.
“It’s all going to be torn down and that’s a good thing, it’s the progress that we’ve been looking for and this is in responsible hands,” he said.
While Fort Lauderdale will be the first home of the Miami club, Mas said the revitalization of the park isn’t limited to a single city. To Mas it represents the “gateway of soccer for South Florida.”
“It shouldn’t be about Fort Lauderdale or Miami. It should be about soccer in our community. Broward and Palm Beach County have almost four million people, they’re part of our community, they are part of our fan base,” said Mas.
Mas also emphasized the importance of young players getting an opportunity to fine tune and showcase their skills, which is why he was joined by 11-year-old Jonathan Young, a member of Inter Miami’s Development Academy.
“This is about the youth and the younger generation,” Mas said. “This is for the young men and women who will be able to achieve their dreams here, who will be able to do something great for our community and fill their hearts with the joy of sport, with the joy of this beautiful game, with the joy of bringing families together. That’s what this project is all about.”
Of course, above all else, fans are eager to watch professional players hit the pitch. The good news is that Inter Miami will start signing players this summer. The head coaching search has also narrowed to three finalists with “international experience” as Mas put it.
In addition to that, the organization has opened season-ticket deposits so fans can reserve priority seating. The pricing is as follows: $50 per seat, $150 per club seat and $4,000 for suites. Inter Miami will release full ticketing information this summer and single-game tickets will go on sale in January of 2020.
William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.