Originally Published May 27, 2007
David Beckham is just months away from playing on the pitch of the Home Depot Center alongside Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones. Who would have ever thought that? Beckham wearing a Los Angeles Galaxy jersey is still difficult to believe, a thing that only the most hardcore Galaxy fans would dream about.
The cost for that dream to become a reality was just $250 million in salary and incentives. An extremely high price to pay, but it is worth it for the Galaxy.
Beckham is no way near being the best player in the world, but makes more money than any other. He is the most marketable athlete in the world. He brings money to whatever team he plays for. His jersey is always among the best sellers and he still has enough talent to compete. There is no doubt people will come and watch the English star.
Los Angeles will all of a sudden become a soccer town, just like it became a hockey town when Wayne Gretzky came to the Los Angeles Kings.
Beckhamania will sweep Los Angeles, but it cannot last forever. People will eventually move on and look for someone else. Beckham will help Major Leage Soccer, but he alone cannot save it.
The league must go after the talented players with names every soccer fan would recognize. There was a rumor of a team speaking to Zinedine Zidane, former French all-star, to come out of retirement. Figo, Portuguese midfielder, was also rumored to be in contact with an MLS team. Having more European players will definitely improve the league, and give it respect as well.
But the league is also looking elsewhere for talent. Some teams have wisely attempted to contact players from Latin America.
Teams such as Chivas USA, Galaxy and Chicago Fire have a large amount of Latino followers, and having well-known and talented Latino players will only make that fan base grow.
Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel is now a player of the New York Red Bulls. Legendary striker Guillermo Barros Schelotto left Boca Juniors of Argentina to play for the Columbus Crew. Mexican striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco will also be migrating to the U.S. to play for the Chicago Fire.
With these quality international players coming to the league, tickets will sell, as well as jerseys. The quality of players coming to MLS teams have put the league on the map. League officials have already announced tournaments competing against clubs from the professional Mexican soccer league. International tours have already been announced as well.
MLS is on the rise, and it will only get better once Beckham arrives. Clubs are making wise decisions in not forgetting their Latino fan base and getting players from all over the world. Some players have arrived, others are on the way, but Beckham is the main attraction. He is the headliner for all newcomers to the league.
Beckhamania is set to begin in late July, most likely against a visiting Chelsea team. The arrival of Beckham will revive the soccer spirit in the United States.
The success of the U.S. in the 2002 World Cup really boosted the popularity of MLS, but that would not last long, especially after the summer of 2006.
The soccer morale is low in this country. Beckham and Co. will come and revive the soccer spirit this country lacks.