You probably already know, unless you have been living in a spider-hole waiting for the U.S. military to find you, that David Beckham will be joining the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer this summer. Gallons of ink and lots of bandwith have been used to analyze, pontificate, degrade and praise the signing. What I haven't seen is an American soccer fan's perspective on the transaction. Lucky for you I happen to be American and a soccer fan. So, you get to read my thoughts. Stop here if you don't want to read it.
The David Beckham to MLS rumor has been around for a year or two now and, to be honest, every time I heard it I just didn't care for one main reason--MLS is not world class soccer. It doesn't hold my attention due to the lesser quality play. I always figured that one big name signing, such as the Beckham deal, by the MLS wouldn't change my opinion. I worried that such actions would lead the league down the path of the NASL and Pele, yada, yada, yada. I still worry about that.
But, after the announcement last week, I found that my interest had been piqued contrary to my prior beliefs. I still have many of the same worries others have like Beckham's declining skill, the price tag, and general circus feel of the whole thing, but I am actually hopeful now. There is a world class player in the MLS fold now and he has the marketing power to attract new interest to the game in the U.S.
This is all positive for the MLS. It will put asses in the seats, sell jerseys and hopefully legitimize the league for future signings of bigger name players to increase the talent level and, ultimately, increase the popularity. The Beckham deal will definitely have me paying closer attention to MLS and hopefully many others will as well because I want soccer to succeed in the U.S. I know I'm not the only soccer fan in the U.S. who had this change of heart. I just hope it works.