David Beckham – An Englishman in LA
AN ENGLISHMAN IN LA
Football in the USA and Major League Soccer (MLS) were never much in the limelight until David Beckham arrived at Los Angeles Galaxy last July. How is the famous and glamorous footballer faring in his new home?
Amidst the flashing of paparazzi cameras: screaming girls and the motorcades normally reserved for pop stars, David Beckham touched down in Los Angeles this past summer, bent on raising the American consciousness of football to another level.
Having signed for Los Angeles Galaxy, one of 13 existing Major League Soccer (MLS) franchises, brand Beckham was immediately resurrected. Cynics suggested that, at the age of 32, he recognised his athleticism was on the decline and that the MLS was a second-rate professional league where has-beens go to play out their careers. Beckham himself sees it differently.
“I am coming, not to be the superstar but to be part of the team, work hard and hopefully win things,” Beckham told reporters upon arrival. “It is about the football. I am coming to make a difference and would like to take the sport to another level. I am not saying my coming to LA is going to make football the biggest sport in America because that is going to be very difficult to achieve. But I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe I could make a difference and take football to a different level.”
Forgotten for the moment is the fact he had gloriously overturned Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello’s negative assessment of him, leading the giant club to the Spanish league title. Capello publicly wished he could persuade Beckham to stay in Spain and renege on his MLS contract. But that was never on the cards. Even England manager Steve McClaren had a change of heart, turning to the former captain after qualifying for EURO 2008 seemed a far-fetched dream. Early indications are that the trans-Atlantic travel involved could put a damper on Beckham’s England plans beyond official FIFA matches but there is no doubting his loyalty to the Three Lions.