In re: Beckham to join LA Galaxy

So you may have heard the news, David Beckham, husband of posh spice, former captain of England’s national team and most recently a bench warmer for Real Madrid is coming to play in the US next August.  This is going to be great, why?  Aside for him, and the $250 million he is going to receive over five years, soccer is going to be getting a lot of attention at least in the short run and may help bump some of the casual fans into a bit more of regulars when ESPN puts highlights a little more prominently.  Can one man really change all that and help elevate the American game?  This can really be compared to a version of the Gretzky move to LA as well, except soccer is below the NHL ever was (except that the youth play it like crazy here) and Beckham is bigger, largely due to his off the field persona, but also due to the fact he is a good footballer.  Of course he isn’t so good anymore on the top teams of Europe, but any premiereship squad would love to have him and despite being left off the English national squad he will be the best player in the States.  So while I’ve never been a Beckham fan, especially during his ManU days, I think this is a great move, if for little else Sky Sports, the British sports channel had to spend twenty minutes of their show explaining the MLS league to those across the pond.

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2 Responses

  1. I lived in Madrid for a few months and had the chance to watch Beckham play. I’m no avid soccer fan, so he was the most famous dude on the field to me. Because of that, I watched him more than any other player, even though he was of inferior talent to most of the other guys on the Madrid squad — guys like Raul, Zidane, Carlos, Casillas and Ronaldo.

    That’s how it will be for many U.S. fans watching him over here. With his first game will come tremendous hype, and TV ratings for an MLS game will undoubtedly reach an all-time high. All eyes on Becks for that one.

    But then what? In the end, it won’t be Beckham they’ll be watching for 90 minutes, it will be soccer. And since soccer itself is a sport the majority of Americans can’t stand to watch, that 90-minute game will be the only one of Beckham’s that many will ever see.

    It’s a great move for Becks, who is well past his prime and nearly out of his league over in Spain. But I’m not sure he grasps how much apathy there is for soccer in this country. His goal of catapulting soccer into the mainstream of American sports will fail.

  2. I’ll admit if Pele and Der Kaiser, Franz Beckenbauer couldn’t help elevate soccer in the late 70s it would seem daunting that it is possible today. There is a big difference today though and one is the number of adults that today have grown up playing soccer (number one sport among kids). Of course this is just because parents are afraid their kids will get injured in ‘real’ american sports, but still its been slowly building an understanding of the game. We may not know how to watch a real game and get psyched about seeing a 0-0 game, but I think that Beckham will get some folks to the pitch, sell some jerseys, remember today we have enough cable channels to carry the games and with soccer only stadiums that won’t be empty soccer may have a chance, not of overtaking nascar and the other major sports but of at least entering the conversation.

    Oh and inresponse to Becks ‘well past his prime’ lets not forget that part of the reason he isn’t playing on Real Madrid right now and on Englands national team is each of those coaches own egos are getting in the way. Last season Beckham led La Ligua in assists and any team would love to have him as he still has several years as an elite player. England coach Steve McClaren would be smart if he calls back Beckham and lets him get to a 100 caps (international appearances) especially in the wake of the most recent poor performances that England has shown (drawing 0-0 against Macedonia recently). Beckham off the bench? What national team wouldn’t love to have him…

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