David Beckham Retires: What It Means For the US Soccer and the MLS
It is a crying shame that David Beckham will retire. While it is true that he is ridiculously rich (and famous), and true that had hadn’t played for a North American team in over a year, it’s also true that Beckham was the face of American pro football, sorry, I meant soccer.
Beckham has had a stellar career and I have no doubt that when his lifetime movie is made, his bad moments will be minimized and his triumphs will be tripled. But regardless, one of his biggest achievements should be his move to LA Galaxy, because while it is difficult to get true football enthusiasts to like and support you, it’s even more difficult to gain support and make headway in a country saturated with other professional sports and their spectators. And yet, Beckham did it.
After 5 ½ years playing in LA, this is what the MLS commissioner said of Beckham:
“I don’t think anybody would doubt that he’s over-delivered on every one of those measures,’’ Garber said. “There's arguably not a soccer fan on this planet that doesn't know the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer, and David played a significant role in helping us make that happen. He was an unbelievable ambassador for the league, for the Galaxy.’’
The greatness of soccer is that anyone can play it, anywhere. Most kids play soccer in schools, it is the great equalizer of the developing world when it comes to introducing sports. And while football(soccer) is undoubtedly the number one sport in the world, in North America it is still trying to work its way into having the same respect and following as the other big 4 (basketball, baseball, [American]football, and hockey).
What is interesting about soccer in the U.S. is that some of the best-known homegrown players are women. America watched and cheered the U.S. soccer teams at the 2012 Olympics in London as they defeated Canada, and then took the gold medal against Japan. While most kids can rattle off the name of their favourite football, hockey, or basketball players, many kids couldn’t name a single MLS player before Beckham moved into the country. But Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, and Abby Wambach, not to mention soccer darling Mia Hamm, have all become locked into the lexicon of popular American athletes.
All hope is not lost; Beckham has a clause in his contract with the Galaxy that will allow him to purchase an MLS team, and for only $25 million. If he decides to enter into the management team, I’m sure fans will start flocking to see his family in the stands … I mean, watch his team play.
Also, you're welcome: