Barcelona president Joan Laporta is excited about the prospect of seeing their team in the MLS. Barca hopes to operate a new team in Miami with the Bolivian businessman Marcelo Claure which would play at a new soccer stadium, completed last month and approved by MLS, on the campus of Florida International University.
Claure owns the F.C. Bolivar club in his native country and has been called one of the most successful Hispanic businessman in the United States. He is the chief executive of Brightstar Communications, a multi-billion dollar cellular phone company. Barcelona also has a relationship with the Bolivian club, and both Bolivar and Barcelona have had a working relationship with the renowned Bolivian soccer academy, Tahuichi.
"We hope our bid is strong enough to be selected," Laporta said. "This is part of our four-year strategy to develop our image in the States, and in this case we believe that Miami is the gateway to America for a lot of people from South and Latin America.
"We believe soccer in the States is growing up and we want to be a part of it. We share a philosophy to develop football in the States and it is a big thing for us. We have met all the requirements to develop a franchise in MLS.
"It is our aim, not only in soccer, but to develop our image as being more than a club, which is our motto, and to promote our values. It means that we are Catalan in our origin, with a link to culture during our history that also includes a defense of rights and democratic freedoms. For us, Miami means something similar."