Judging by the World Cup this past summer, I have a feeling that this news will have little interest to you, the frappe readers. But since my contract says I get to write about “what I want, when I want,” I have no need to justify this soccer blog to anyone. Not even the boss.
The news today is that David Beckham, England’s superstar soccer player, has decided that starting in August of 2007 he will be playing with the L.A. Galaxy instead of returning to his current team, Real Madrid. His contract is worth a reported 250 million dollars and will probably only be for a short 5 years. I’ll give you sometime to reread that last statement and pick up your jaw off the keyboard. It’s okay to excuse yourself in search of a paper towel.
The 5 year, 250 million dollar contract would easily be the biggest contract in MLS history, let alone sport’s history. That’s right. David Beckham, a soccer player, will sign the biggest contract in the history of the world of sports. I’m suddenly hating my brother for making me think Pop Warner football was cooler than playing soccer (even though it was, is, and always will be).
And although most clueless-to-soccer Americans will want to talk about the insanity of this contract, the real story is the fact that a European superstar decided to play in the MLS. You see, the MLS to world soccer is like the CFL to the NFL: it’s not nearly as good. That’s not to say there aren’t any good players in the MLS, because there are, namely those that play on the U.S. team. However, David Beckham will be the first international stud to play in U.S, and I don’t use the word stud lightly. The dude can’t even walk into a bathroom without being bombarded by fans. And did I mention he’s married to Victoria Adams (a.k.a. Posh Spice)?
Unfortunately for soccer fans, this doesn’t mean a whole lot for the immediate future of soccer in the United States. Beckham will arrive with a lot of fanfare and coverage. His first game will presumably be televised on ESPN, but not that many people will tune in. Those who do will change the channel when he doesn’t score in the first 15 minutes. It’s sad but true. The United States still isn’t ready to jump fully behind the sport of soccer. And since Beckham is 31, his skills are on their way down and his efforts to raise American interest in soccer won’t be very successful.
However, it’s not all dark and gloomy for soccer’s future. American soccer fans can only hope this is the first of many European stars who seek refuge from the limelight on U.S. soil. If this is the beginning of a long history of players coming over to the MLS, then we definitely have something to smile about, and the “soccer groundhog” might come out from his hole a little early this time around predicting an early spring.