Sunday, January 14, 2007

Beckham 'could make Galaxy great' I love the first paragraph of this article:
Boss Alexi Lalas believes the signing of ex-England captain David Beckham in August could help to make LA Galaxy the world's biggest football club.
The world's biggest club? Wow. I think he's forgetting one teensy weensy detail: soccer is a team sport. Sure, Beckham may be good, but there are 10 other guys on the field with him. For him to look good, the entire team must be able to perform together as a unit. Secondly, soccer is a sport where a club's history is very important, and, quite frankly, no American clubs can claim much of a history. Besides, look at who made the comment: Lalas. Do I really need to defend my skeptism any more?

Davis: Beckham signing lifts league The first three sentences of the article:
The world of Major League Soccer changed Thursday. Forever.

The league grew up, so to speak.
Changed forever? MLS grew up? Now maybe I'm wrong here, but you'll have to pardon my skepticism. Is Beckham's signing a good thing for MLS? Probably. Is it going to make MLS a respectable league worldwide, and soccer the #1 sport in the US? Highly doubtful. Those two things can only be accomplished one way: by strengthening soccer on the grassroots level. Did any of the other soccer superpowers (Brazil, England, Man U, Real Madrid, etc.) gain their strength by the signing of one man or woman? No. In all of those cases, soccer is a deep, powerful force on the grassroots level. If you've ever travelled outside of the US and Canada, you know what I'm talking about. Soccer is everywhere. Kids play on the streets, fields, and anywhere there is space. Things like 'real' goalposts, regulation-size fields, shin guards, and shoes are optional. Entire cities and countries essentially grind to a halt when their team is playing. There is no glamour in a bunch of kids kicking around an old, beat-up ball on a dusty field. Will a rich, famous, glamourous player change the attitudes of Americans to soccer on the grassroots level? Sure, some will be introduced to MLS for the first time, and become hooked by the game. His presence may do a lot to making soccer look cool. But Beckham's presence isn't going to change the minds and attitudes of the American population. Only a strong grassroots growth can. What we need is more of a paradigm shift in the minds of Americans.

Blogroll update

Please welcome Blue Blooded Journo, a Revs blog, to the blogroll.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Beckham move (as seen by the BBC)

According to this article, Beckham "may end his career in the relative soccer backwaters of the United States", with a bit of cash saved up for the retirement. Another article states that "It seems he has effectively admitted his serious career is finished and so has opted for a last slice of the showbiz lifestyle in the United States". Yet another article mentions "his move to the footballing backwater of the US". Although these articles are, for the most part, positive about what the future may hold for Beckham in LA, they do agree with my impression of the US as a the ending-point for aging stars (not a good impression!).

Blogroll update

Please welcome From College to the Pros and MLS Underground to the blogroll.

Also, my link for The Sporting Rogue didn't seem to be working, and Google only pulled up this site, making it the first site I've removed from the blogroll, to the best of my recollection. Please either post something in the comments or e-mail me, if you know what happened to the blog.

The Beckham move

If you follow MLS news (or sports in general, for that matter), you've probably already heard about Beckham's impending move to LA. Heck, at the moment, it's the top story on the Google News page. My thoughts are somewhat divided on the story:

The good

Beckham is a big name, one that even many non-soccer fans recognize, if for no other reason than who his wife is. His presence will (likely) draw in revenue, increase sales of MLS merchandise, increase LA ticket sales, and make sports stores everywhere happy...blah, blah, blah...I'm sure you've heard all this already.

The bad

Maybe I've just become too much of a cynic, but when I first saw the headlines, the first thought to pop into my mind was: "Here we go again. MLS: The Graveyard of Has-Beens." Yes, I know that Beckham was, and remains, one of the top footballers in the world. However, you cannot deny that he has been around a while. You also cannot deny that MLS (still) is not not the top choice for Europe and South America's top young players. Second thought: remember Pele's NASL debut? Remember what that did for the NASL? Sure, he drew in the crowds. The league also eventually folded, leaving the US without a top-level league for a decade. Third thought: remember the sensation in the news media when Adu joined MLS? Has his presence resulted in a sustained interest in MLS? I think both the numbers and the lack of MLS news in the media are an indication that the answer is no.

My point?

Yes, I do concede that Beckham may provide the boost that MLS so desperately needs. However, I am very hesitant to jump on the Beckham-the-savior-of-MLS bandwagon.