Saturday, October 07, 2006

Beckham linked to US clubs, good or bad move?

Soccer USA style, at the Lincoln Financial Field 2002

According to the Sun newspaper David Beckham could move to either LA Galaxy or the New York Red Bulls next season. There's no doubting from Beckham's perspective the timing is perfect. Despite assurances that he's still part of Cappello's plans, he's been on the bench for Real Madrid recently and he's been axed by England boss Steve McClaren, so he's in need of a career boost.

Moving to the US would also open up new commercial opportunities for 'brand Beckham'. His wife Posh has her own designer clothing label and the Beckham's would love the added media exposure that they'd receive in the US. What's more the spotlight might not be quite as bad as it can be in Madrid and elswhere in Europe's bigger cities with the Papparratzi always on the case.

The question is, would Major League Soccer benefit from Beckham coming to the USA? I think back to Pele joining New York Cosmos after leaving Santos in 1975 and a year later George Best joined LA Aztecs, along with Bobby Moore who played for San Atonio Thunder and later Seattle Sounders, while 'Der Kaiser' AKA Franz Beckenbauer also played for New York Cosmos and 'Der Bomber' Gerd Muller plied his trade at Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Some observers look back and say that it was the wrong thing to do for US soccer, because at the time the US game needed building from the grass roots up and bringing in this circus of world stars wasn't the right way forward. Maybe now the time is right for Beckham. I went on Manchester United's tour of the USA in 2002 and I was quite impressed by the numbers who'd turned out, they weren't all expats by a long way, the game looked to be increasing in popularity. It would be great if the USA could really take to soccer/football and if Beckham can make that happen, then let it be.

There is a chance Beckham could return to Manchester United, there's talk that Fergie might quit this summer, which could open the door for a United return - which would also be hugely popular with David Beckham, if not Posh.


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  3. Right move! Love Beckham or hate him, you'll probably spend the money to go see him. Am I right? (I would pay good money to see Cristiano Ronaldo, just so I could boo the whiny, diving crybaby. But I digress.)

    I saw Real Madrid when they were playing DC United here in Seattle, and the difference in energy level and excitement between RM and DCU was huge. Like it or not, European soccer provides more drama and more theater, and therefore more of interest. They run faster, foul more egregiously and even dive more melodramatically, which made the game interesting to watch. And this meant I wasn't willing to take even five minutes out of the game to buy a water or use the loo. This excitement is what US soccer is lacking.

    Beckham would put butts in the seats. Butts with wallets. That's what we need. I view it as kind of like a defibrillator. The long-term goal is for the heart to beat on its own. (i.e. to have homegrown talent and homegrown excitement.) But you have to get the heart going for that to happen. Mildly aged European stars could do that.

    Consider it less cost than investment.

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