I just read on ESPN (here) that David Beckham who plays for England’s National Team and Real Madrid has signed a 5 year contrack with the MLS for roughly $250 million. This is by far the biggest signing and the best player to ever hit the US league.
Why would he do it? Well for starters, he’s not nearly as good as he used to be. He was never the best dribbler or dominant in the midfield but he has always been an amazing crosser and was deadly on set pieces (free kicks). Now that’s gotten older (he’s 31), he’s become more of a liability on the wing as he’s not as fast as younger players. While this is a problem when you play on one of the best clubs in the world, it’s not that big of a deal in the MLS where he’ll definitely be able to hold his own.
Second, the US is the land of marketing, sponsorships and celebrity. Even more than a soccer player, David Beckham is a celebrity. He’s married to a pop star (Posh Spice) and frequently models. England’s national team coach has often said that his off-field activities get in the way of his game. In England, they’re not used to this behavior, but in the US it is almost encouraged. The US is a gold-mine for people like Beckham and Posh. I’m sure when he looked closely at his “career” he saw that he’s better off maximizing his celebrity at this point than trying to extend his soccer dreams.
I expect him and Posh to be regular fixtures in the entertainment gossip world and it’s only a matter of time before we start to see him popping up in crappy B-movies. But, being in crappy movies at age 35 is probably a lot better than what lots of other former soccer players are doing. And, it’s something that you can do for the rest of your career. I just hope the US is ready for the faux-hawks.