Tuesday, January 23, 2007

David Beckham Crosses the Atlantic

Apparently, this is a big deal. Beckham is popular in East Asia including Taiwan. Since I was in Taiwan, an American and a soccer fan, I was asked for my opinion.

My responses:

  • Major League Soccer (MLS) isn't a bad league. The level of play is better than any league in Asia. For example, the US has three former MLS goalkeepers starting in English Premier League.

  • Beckham isn't one of the best players in the world. He wasn't even the best player on Manchester United, England National Team, or Real Madrid (see "Beckham Epitomizes Style over Substance"). However, he is the best at what he does, which is serving up free kicks, corner kicks and crosses

  • MLS is a new league, and the Cosmos never played in it.

  • The U.S. can play soccer, reaching the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup and earning a tie with Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

Will the signing be successful? Depends. More accomplished players have signed on with mixed on-the-field results (see Youri Djorkaeff, Lothar Matthäus). However, Beckham signed on as the most marketable player. He's in the U.S. to sell himself, and MLS signed him to sell tickets and TV rights. The money will flow, but for the money to keep flowing in, there has to be on-the-field results.

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