I will be the first to admit that I cringed at the thought of David Beckham coming to the America.
As a die-hard soccer fan, I truly did not know what this would do to the sport in America. Last night, watching the Major League Soccer All Stars taking on Scotland’s Celtic F.C., one could not go seconds without hearing the name Beckham on the ESPN telecast or seeing the camera light up on his face as he watched the game.
The halftime broadcast consisted of an interview of David Beckham, putting further question into his playing time tomorrow against legendary English powerhouse Chelsea F.C. Beckham currently has a swollen ankle. However, it is here that he started to win me over.
Beckham let the viewers know that granted that the LA Galaxy versus Chelsea will be a big game, he is here for five years and one game should not mean much. He then further emphasized taking on his challenge to help make soccer bigger for America.
For what its worth “Becks” is starting to win me over. When the trade was first made I was truly afraid that this dubbed the MLS as a league where washed up European stars could make huge money when no one else in the world would pay up.
David Beckham made me eat those words because “Becks” likes his challenges. Just when I thought he wasn’t up to par while being benched on Real Madrid, Beckham took his playing to another level towards the end of the season not only contributing to Madrid’s Spanish title, but also making Real Madrid ponder how much they truly lost as Beckham began to pack for America.
Same story with the English National team. Becks lost his captain status and playing time, but guess who is looking in his direction again. His crosses are amazing and very needed on England’s team especially when you have a six foot seven inch forward, Peter Crouch, who can get those head balls.
I never thought that I would say this, but there is a high chance that there will be an English National team player playing in the MLS. If that’s hard to believe for me, you should imagine the people drinking their tea over in England trying to figure that one out. Either way, Beckham is showing promise and a lot more than I could have ever imagined.
Major League Soccer has never had this much publicity. Beckham will appear on the cover of ESPN magazine further putting the spotlight on him and the MLS. Hollywood news shows have already jumped on the bandwagon.
For Beckham, increasing the popularity of soccer in America for non-fans in the next five years will be harder than redeeming himself after the red card he received with England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. But let’s not forget that he did more than redeem himself for England and has surpassed every challenge put in front of him.
This one will be quite fun to watch, and with Beckham, at least you know that one of the thousand cameras on him will give you a good angle to do so.
Matthew D Hogan is a student of creative writing, interested in sports and pop culture.