If Inter Miami CF gets its way, it'll be going back to the site of an MLS and U.S. soccer relic before moving into its sparkling new home.
The 2020 MLS expansion club has chosen the Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale as its desired temporary home for the first two seasons of its existence, pending city approval as early as next Tuesday. Club owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas stood at the stadium site Thursday to make the announcement. Inter Miami will eventually move into a state-of-the-art complex at Miami Freedom Park on the site of the Melreese Country Club and golf course–provided it receives final clearance from the city commissioners and can negotiate a lease with the city–in time for the 2022 season.
But before then, it has its eyes set on Lockhart Stadium, which has infamously been ignored and unkempt since the NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers ceased play. Lockhart was also the stadium for MLS's first go-around in Miami, with the Fusion calling it home from 1998-2001.
Eventually, Inter Miami wants Lockhart to be its practice site and house its USL team and academy teams, already intending to build a new stadium and park complex there and construct a modern, 18,000-seat venue as the centerpiece.
It appears the first team will be the first ones to inhabit it as the club gets off the ground–that is, unless a rival bid from the FXE Futbol group also looking to bring a USL team to Fort Lauderdale wins the bid. The group released a scathing statement in the aftermath of Beckham and Mas's announcement:
The outcome should be settled some time next week one way or another.