Wednesday, March 4, 2009
David Beckham To Return To Galaxy: Public Still Does Not Care
I've never been a huge soccer fan outside of perhaps an occasional World Cup, but I can appreciate what the MLS has tried to accomplish over the years in trying to make soccer the fifth major team sport in the United States. I also understand what the LA Galaxy did in bringing David Beckham onto their squad. Beckham said all the right things when he signed on the dotted line to be a veritable spotlight at the Home Depot Center hoping to draw fans from far and wide (and perhaps make the Galaxy a hip thing in Hollywood the way a Lakers game is). However, it has never really clicked, and I can't say he has put a big dent in the minds of sports fans across the country. Let's face it, if you can't have a soccer explosion in Southern California, it's not happening anywhere.
While people may be aware he is in the United States and plays for the Galaxy, it hasn't sent flocks of people to their local MLS ticket office looking to see how they can get involved. It turns out soccer is bigger than one man and it always has been, at least in the United States anyway. The general public's lack of interest in soccer will always put it bigger than one player. Perhaps MLS and Galaxy officials hoped Beckham could do for soccer what Tiger Woods has done for golf. The catch is, Americans already loved golf before Tiger ever came along, he just took it to another level.
With that in mind, we finally have reached what appears to be a resolution in the latest Beckham saga. Here in the home of the Galaxy, the whereabouts of Beckham seem to make news daily and his efforts as of late to play for AC Milan on loan (and never return to the Galaxy) has been quite the storyline. After hoping that AC Milan would put up enough cash to bowl over the Galaxy-- they have to realize in the land of Manny Ramirez that sometimes your best offer is never enough--the Galaxy said thanks, but no thanks. We want our player back. While this whole "loaning" business is a bit mind boggling, you'd never see the Lakers loan Kobe to Maccabi Tel Aviv for a couple of games.
Yesterday, the LA Times reported a final resolution to the situation. Beckham will finish out the season with AC Milan, come back and finish up with the Galaxy and then buy out the remainder of his contract so he can be done with this failed American soccer experiment forever. So Beckham doesn't come close to seeing the end of the five-year 32.5 million dollar deal he inked and I can't totally blame him. He discovered what many in global soccer have known for a long time: the best soccer is not being played in America and for all the money in the world, if you are a true competitor it is likely not worth your time, your energy, and in this case your steadily maturing famous right foot.
There will be a few more opportunities to see Beckham slide on the jersey that more prominently displays the company Herbalife than it does the Galaxy as he rounds out his MLS career. But beyond that, we say farewell. Beckham, we hardly knew ye.
-Posted by Cadillac Mescallade