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Beckham’s Inter Miami soccer team wants to train in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium has a long history of soccer and is now proposed as the training grounds for David Beckham’s Inter Miami Major League Soccer team.

The logo for Inter Miami, which is the shortened version of Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
The logo for Inter Miami, which is the shortened version of Club Internacional de Futbol Miami

The club, represented by Tripp Scott attorney Stephanie Toothaker, sent an unsolicited proposal to the city of Fort Lauderdale to turn the 1959-era stadium into an 18,000 seat, state-of-the art venue. The club says an engineering assessment found the stadium does not meet code requirements, including those associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Inter Miami would also add a 30,000- to 32,000-square foot building with locker rooms, weight training facilities, dining areas and administrative offices.

The club expects the site would have 80 full-time staff members, including 30 soccer players.

While the club will ultimately play at Miami Freedom Park, which is being developed just east of Miami International Airport, the training facility would be a boost to the Uptown Urban Village Project in Fort Lauderdale’s Cypress Creek area. The area hosts 70,000 employees and offers the opportunity for transit-oriented development near the Cypress Creek Tri Rail station. There have been plans over the decades to develop the station’s sprawling parking lot on the east side of Andrews Avenue, but they have never come to fruition.

Inter Miami indicated it will help Fort Lauderdale’s plan to reactivate the stadium area with a public park, playground, jogging trail and dog park.

There have been a couple of proposals for water parks on land near the stadium. Schlitterbahn’s plan was derailed by a lawsuit by Premiere Parks, which owns Wet ‘n’ Wild near West Palm Beach. In September, however, Premiere ended its plan for a Fort Lauderdale water park. One popular venue in the area is Xtreme Action Park, which offers a half-mile go kart track, a sports performance training center, laser tag and an array of games.

A key economic engine in the neighborhood is Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, which is one of the nation’s busiest general aviation airports.

Lockhart stadium was built originally for high schools sports, but in 1977 became the home for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League. It laster hosted the Miami Fusion Major League Soccer team. A second iteration of the Strikers played more recently at the stadium, but moved to Central Broward Regional Park. The key assets of the team were sold for $5,100 at a court-ordered auction in 2017.

“The vast history of soccer in South Florida has deep roots in Fort Lauderdale dating back to the original Strikers of the 70’s and 80’s, the Miami Fusion of the 90’s and early 2000’s as well as the recent clubs that have called Lockhart Stadium their home,” Paul McDonough, Inter Miami’s sporting director, said in a news release. “It is a privilege to be able to present a sustainable proposal that honors that history and revitalizes the area. Our training facility will serve all of South Florida’s soccer community and provide amateur and professional athletes the opportunity to achieve their goals both on and off the field.”

The site will have several soccer fields and accommodate a youth academy and a United Soccer League Team. The academy will provide more than 120 local athletes with a fully funded opportunity to train and develop their soccer skills as they pursue professional or collegiate soccer careers.  The academy’s teams will range from ages 12 to 19.

“The most important pillar of our legacy is our youth academy, where future players will have the opportunity to train alongside the professionals and aspire to one day represent our community in front of their hometown crowd,” McDonough said. “This proposal will establish our daily soccer operations in a centralized location that caters to youth players from all of South Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.”

The team is expected to kick off in the 2020 season, possibly at Marlins Ballpark since Freedom Park isn’t expected to be completed by then.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.