I know many in the soccer world rolled their eyes when they heard that David Beckham was coming to America. We all knew the media circus that would surround he and his wife Victoria. That simply couldn’t be good for the beautiful game in America. I was sitting in a bar recently (watching the USWNT beat Norway) when ESPN showed their arrival and the absolute media frenzy that surrounded their departure overseas and arrival here. Someone nearby wondered which movie star was causing ‘such excitement’ and the look on their face when I said ‘it was a soccer player’ was priceless. When I said it was David Beckham, they said ‘Oh! So that’s what he looks like!’. Guess they were one of the 52%!
Personally, I think the arrival of the Beckham’s is great for soccer in America, even if it doesn’t translate into better ratings or attendance for the MLS. Like Mia Hamm before him, David Beckham is ‘cool’ to kids playing soccer (or thinking about it) and will generate excitement in their sport. That’s a good thing. If it also translates into adult fans, even better. So try to clench your jaw and tolerate the media circus. Soccer has a long history in America, but soccer just ‘arrived’ for many on an inbound flight from London. Just remember, when someone new to soccer talks about how ‘cool David Beckham is’ and how he’s made soccer interesting, that’s when you hand them a copy of Soccerhead or one of the many other books that deal with the History of Soccer in America.
Let the Beckham’s open the door. We can show them the way!
UPDATE: That’s On Point has a good media roundup of the Beckham’s arrival.