It’s not long to go before David Beckham’s Inter Miami makes its MLS debut and the club named former Uruguayan international Diego Alonso as its first head coach on Monday.
Alonso – the only coach to win the Concacaf Champions League with two different teams – got the nod ahead of, reportedly, World Cup winner Patrick Vieira and River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo.
They both had ties to the MLS, with Vieira formerly managing New York City FC and Gallardo lining up for DC United.
Alonso’s managerial success has come in Mexico, guiding Pachuca to the Champions League crown in 2017 before being at the helm when Monterrey beat city rival Tigres in 2019.
He was, however, sacked after Monterrey lost 2-0 to Tigres at the end of September and sat in the bottom half of the league table.
“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans,” said Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough.
“He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas. We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”
Alonso’s first game in charge – and the first game for Inter Miami – comes March 1 at LAFC. Two weeks later, Beckham’s former side, the LA Galaxy, visits south Florida.
He first exercised an option to buy a franchise in 2014 before being officially awarded the Miami team early in 2018.
Beckham is now one of five owners. Jorge Mas – the Miami-born chairman of MasTec – is named as the lead managing owner on the club’s website.
But getting the team off the ground hasn’t been smooth sailing, especially when it came to nailing down a site for a new stadium. Multiple sites were evaluated but didn’t get the go-ahead.
For now, Inter Miami will play home games at the 18,000-capacity Fort Lauderdale Stadium. It then plans to move to its permanent home, the 25,000-capacity Miami Freedom Park, in 2022.
The $1 billion venue is billed by Inter Miami as a “recreation destination” also featuring shops, restaurants, football pitches and 58 acres of green space and parks.
Beckham will no doubt hope Inter Miami emulates the success of Atlanta United, a relative newcomer to the MLS.
It won the league in its second season in 2018 and boasted an average attendance of more than 50,000 in 2019.