Beckham to LA Galaxy

All over the soccer world of course, Beckham leaving Real Madrid (which everyone thought would happen) at the end of the season and going straight to the LA Galaxy (which was widely suspected).

I think it’ll be interesting to see how it goes - of course many famous soccer players ended their careers in the US, partially for publicity, partially for the glamor, and partially for the money.

MLS would welcome a famous boost - not because it desperately needs it - but because it’s about time it had a boost of this nature. For years MLS has been feeding some of its best players into the EPL and Europe, now it finally gets its own infusion of world talent of the sort that popularized soccer in the US in the 70s. I don’t think the impact will be as huge (not as much as say the impact of the Beckhams in LA) but it should be significant.

— Alan

I don’t see this giving US soccer much of a boost, sorry. It might make existing soccer fans watch US matches, but I don’t see any new converts coming over.

My limited knowledge of MLS mainly comes from Sean Wheelock’s stint on the BBC every week but it will be interesting to see how this develops within the MLS structure and whether having a player on that much more cash compared to everyone else in the team will end up being to detriment of the team.

as for Beckham himself, I don’t blame him. He’s been dropped from the national team, told there’s basically nothing he can do to get back in it and has won pretty much every domestic prize going in English football at least. Added to that he’s got his academies in the USA and they’re offering a bucket load of money, so why not. He is at least still young enough at 31 to be able to claim that he is going there to play football rather than nod and wink and have everyone know that he’s coming out of retirement purely for the paycheck as in the 70s.

No idea what, if any, effect it will have domestically and maybe it will only serve to raise the profile of the MLS in the UK/far east, even so that’s worth money to the league itself which should be good the MLS as a whole.

MLS is the new Japan, or something. And a five year deal? Guess he’s worked out no one in the UK is ever going to pay him what he wants.

The details were a bit vague here, but thinking about it, is this new rule for MLS clubs that LA Galaxy hold his contract rather than the MLS which I understood was how it worked previously?

And thus, another former great enters his twilight years. America is the Florida of soccer.

I guess he just couldn’t get a guaranteed game at Real Madrid any more. That plus being dropped by England adds to the humiliation and makes it easy to understand why he’d prefer an option that puts him back into the spotlight.

On the surface it’s a massive pay cut ($1.5m vs Real’s $5m per season), but being able to control his own image rights is worth much more in the long run.

I’ll definitely go see him when Galaxy play the Earthquakes. He grew up just down the street from me.

It’s funny to me that the general reaction is a hope that bringing an aging star like this will somehow boost soccer in the U.S.

Isn’t it wholly possible that viewers will tune in to watch who they believe is the world’s best soccer player ever, realize that he now sucks, and think, “If this is the best player in soccer and this is what the game is like when he is playing, I’m never watching this sport again?”

Well, you can hope that he will become a mentor to his team, and some of those magic will get passed on to other people. But then, isn’t this the coach’s job?

One of us isn’t following MLS close enough.

Why, what happened? I’ve seen the Galaxy play San Jose (back when they were still called the Clash) at Spartan Stadium before.

On the surface it’s a massive pay cut ($1.5m vs Real’s $5m per season), but being able to control his own image rights is worth much more in the long run.

Doesn’t even have to be the long run. Last time I heard, Beckham easily makes 20+ million a year (sans salary) thanks to ad/promo deals and the like. One of the critical points - other than him not being in the first team anymore and not having one a single title in three years - was that Real demands a certain share from the (non-salary) income every player has. Kind of like “Being part of the best team in the world [ahem ahem] increases your market value, so you owe us”.


They moved to Houston.

Supposedly though, the Bay Area is one of the leading contenders for a expansion franchise/relocated team.

Ha yeah, that’s exactly how much I have been following the MLS, then.

Seems like the MLS is expanding by a team a year or so, from Real Salt Lake, Houston (relocated San Jose Earthquakes), Toronto for the '07 season… and the US and MLS are getting integrated (slowly) into the American cup competitions (team-based Copa Sudamerica and nation-based Copa America) soon.

— Alan

I also wonder if his managers think this is a smart move for him because the U.S. is relatively “untapped” by his branding. As he becomes a poorer player due to age (and recognition that he was never one of the top 3-5 players in the world in the first place), soccer saavy nations may recognize that, and his marketability may drop.

The U.S., however, knows next to nothing about soccer, and his diminished skills and play may not impact his marketability here to the same degree.

America has soccer teams?

Seriously though, I can’t see soccer ever becoming big here. There are just too many other established competitors, unlike the rest of the world. Here we have football, baseball, NASCAR, basketball, and to some extent hockey, all competing for the same sports fan dollars. Where does soccer fit in? You can pour as much money as you want into it, and hire whoever you want, but there is just no room for it here. Few cities can support more than two or three professional teams, let alone 4 or 5.

Hockey dying off may increase the fan base of soccer long term, but they are mutually exclusive seasons, so I still don’t know if there is room.

That being said, I have see bars advertising World Cup games in the past few years, so maybe they can eek out an existance, but I see them being about the size of hockey, but never as big as they are in Europe or South America.

Soccer will never get big enough in the US to really compete in the major sports, they are too engrained in our culture to be knocked off. However, I feel it is indeed growing every year in small bits. And frankly it will only grow through big things, such as the US competing in the World Cup and world-famous players playing in domestic leagues. Yes, it does indeed help. It helped thirty years ago and it can help now.

— Alan

This is actually a much bigger deal than the superstars who turned up in the 70s. They were all famous, but they were also all has-beens in their late 30s. Beckham is 31, and not long past his prime, with a good few years left in him. Being that his game has never been about pace, he could last until maybe 36 or 37.

Even more than that, I believe he sees this as a firm commitment to US soccer, whereas those guys in the 70s were just there to make a quick buck. A man as experienced and as well known as Beckham will be a boon to the US game for years after he has given up playing.

I thought he’s getting £128m over 5 years?

Over here we have the decision down to the massive pile of cash, his missus, and availability of shopping in LA, and opportunity to whore out her skinny ass on the celebrity circuit.

So 31 is washed up in the Soccer world? Can Beckham no longer bend it?