Enthusiastic crowd welcomes David Beckham to Kendall park

David Beckham (center of photo) is surrounded by Kendall soccer fans and press. (Photo by Mercedes Rodriguez)

David Beckham (center of photo) is surrounded by Kendall soccer fans and press. (Photo by Mercedes Rodriguez)

Soccer fans turned out by the hundreds to greet David Beckham at Kendall Soccer Park on Feb. 5. It also was a chance to celebrate the day the former international star forward announced Miami will get a Major League Soccer franchise.

A hectic scene greeted Beckham who arrived at 4 p.m. in a caravan of black SUVs navigating through jam-packed Kendall Drive traffic, a quartet of police waving him into the main entry of the park off SW 127th Avenue before the waiting throng.

“This crowd is unbelievable” reported Channel 10’s Will Manso on live TV from a screen bearing the legend: “Beckham Mania” as reporters, camera crews, police, and Beckham’s contingent of associates made their way through crowds of soccer youngsters, few actually shaking his hand.

Within the half-hour visit, Beckham spoke briefly with Miami-Dade District 10 Commissioner Javier Souto who “was thrilled that Mr. Beckham has chosen to visit with us at Kendall Soccer Park and check out its wonderful facilities.”

The layout, which he briefly viewed, includes Kendall’s four full playing fields and four Soccer 5 units, built in partnership with Miami-Dade County for the now 5-year-old enterprise headed by Alan and Scott Georgeson, both of whom greeted Beckham.

“It is great for the sport in Miami and will be good for the local economy, too,” said Alan Georgeson, father of the family that has developed Soccer 5 in Miami with a Kendall base.

“The announcement comes at a time with the World Cup just around the corner and Miami consistently posts viewer ratings in the top five across the country,” he told Beckham associate Simon Fuller (creator of American Idol) while presenting him with a Soccer 5 T-shirt.

“Investing in local talent will be a huge thing, but the ability to pull internationally recognized talent is going to put people in the stands,” noted Georgeson’s son, Scott, who daily directs hundreds young Soccer 5 players at Kendall, Tropical and Amelia Earhart parks in Miami-Dade.

“We hope he’ll support our Miami Soccer Festival 2014 over Thanksgiving Weekend as an integral part of the Mayors Youth Championship Series,” added Alan, Scott’s father, creator of the festival and a specialist in commercial property development throughout South Florida.

“If his recent trip to Kendall Soccer Park is anything to go by, we are in for an exciting journey.”

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