LA GALAXY and David Beckham…Who is Staying and Who is Going?
The 2002 World Cup, in which
the United States unexpectedly and shockingly made the quarterfinals by
defeating international powerhouses, Portugal and Mexico, triggered a
resurgence a massive resurgance in American soccer and the Major Soccer
League (MLS). One not seen until 1930 when the Americans dominated the
fourth group of the FIFA World Cup in Uruguay. Of course, again, to the
shock of the experts. At the MLS Cup 2002, held four months after the
2002 FIFA World Cup final, set an attendance record as a sellout crowd
at Gillette Stadium saw the Los Angeles Galaxy win their first championship
Much to the shock of sports fans and critics, soccer is a popular sport in the United States. It is the most popular recreational sport for both boys and girls and has been so for about 25 years. This late 20th century boom in the sport is mostly attributed for the most part to the existence of the North American Soccer League which existed from 1967 to 1984, and the New York Cosmos, its marquee team which included among its players stellar names like Franz Beckenbauer and Pelé.
Let’s look at the facts though, professional soccer has been less popular in the United States than say in Latin America, Asia, Africa or Europe for sure. Its professional first-division league is not as well-attended in general as the NFL, MLB or the NBA, but Major League Soccer is a lot younger than those established leagues, and has far fewer teams. Major League Soccer only arrived on the scene in 1996, while these other major leagues have each existed for over 50 years now.
Accordinng to sources, “although MLS is also much younger than most other countries' first divisions, and has only 14 teams in 2008, they are already the 12th most-attended premier division in the entire world .” In 2007, with the arrival of international superstars such as David Beckham, attendance records for specific MLS teams and stadiums continued to increase. US and Mexico national teams have been playing in front of crowds in upwards of 60,000 in the U.S. over the past several years, and have also shattered attendance records for matches held in the past five years.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, home to international superstar, David Beckham, were one of the founding franchises of the MLS which was formed in 1995. Since that time, they have won the U.S. Open Cup twice. Once in 2001 and once in 2005. In 2007, they signed David Beckham for $250 million lighting up the international headlines. In 2007, when Beckham was still at the star-packed Real Madrid, it was reported that he would leave the illustrious club to enter into a 5-year arrangement with the LA Galaxy. Since the LA Galaxy acquired Beckham, it has struggled to find its feet going through numerous departures and arrivals from players to coaches, loan deals which saw Beckham loaned to the Italian club giant, A.C. Milan for a period of 3 months. The rest is recent heavily press covered history. Beckham wanted to stay in Italy, offers flying back and forth between the Galaxy and A.C. Milan, signing “tactics”, missed deadlines, etc…There was even rumors of Beckham considering buying out his contract with L.A. and signing with Milan for free…Hmmm. The outcome is yet to be determined and for the moment Beckham stays put. Great news for soccer enthusiasts and lovers of the sport. Regardless, of the drama, hype and press, it looks like Los Angelinos and tourists will still have the opportunity to see one of the greatest footballers in the world light up the pitch.
“On the field he has been demonstrating his consistent ability to see a big picture even under severe pressure during the most rapidly changing and unpredictable games. His field vision has been remarkable, allowing him to create many assists in a number of important matches. Beckham's forte has been his delivery from the right-hand side as well as his efficient free kicks. His superior performances in the midfield position has required a higher physical endurance through the entire game. "David Beckham's right foot" was mentioned, although humorously, as one of British national treasures”
Regardless of your opinion of the career moves he has made, his moves on the field is the real star attraction. The LA Galaxy open their season on March 14th in Chicago against the Fire. They arrive back to play their first two home games on March 22nd against DC Uniteda and April 4th against the Colorado Rapids. Half-price tickets to select games at www.StubDog.com. Don’t miss the chance.