My country, The United States of America, was fortunate enough to host the World Football Challenge. Four clubs; six matches, and an average attendance of 60,000. The clubs from around the world did a spectacular job showcasing the excitement of football. The success of the tournament has already spurred talk of another tour in 2011; no tour 2010 due to the World Cup. In addition to The World Football Challenge; Everton FC, Barcelona FC, and Real Madrid have all scheduled preseason friendlies within the United States. 2 August 09 saw a Barcelona Victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of a sold out crowd of 93,000. Football (soccer) has finally landed in a big way. Granted, the average attendance of an MLS match is around 30,000; we are fans of quality football (soccer), and lets be honest the quality of the MLS is not quite there yet.
This has been the breakout year for the sport of football inside the United States. We have seen out mens national team finally make the jump to being competitive on a world stage. Sepp Blatter commented that maybe the quality of clubs within the US will improve so that the talent will stay within the borders, instead of moving to clubs in Europe and Mexico. And then there is David Beckham. Anyone that has read my previous posts knows about my admiration for Beckham.
Regardless of what media says; David Beckham has been good for football (soccer) in the US. The complexities and loyalties of remaining fit for national duty escapes Americans because most of our club sports do not have international match implications. The fact that the league was willing to turn loose of the cash to land Beckham anyway is an amazing feat in itself. Politics and jealousy played out in the media is pushing David Beckham away at the end of his contract. There is talk of him landing with Manchester United, but that will be another post on manutd.footballblog.co.uk. David Beckham is always the gentleman, even when booed and challenged by fans on his home pitch. The MLS has already reiterated that his contract will have to expire before he is cut loose to return to Europe. The negative publicity this past month has been ridiculous. The shame lies in the fact that once Beckham packs his bags the light will once again fade on the MLS. David Beckham even shook hands with one of the hecklers at a past match. As I watched Barcelona defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy I saw Beckham score the loan goal for the Galaxy. When David Beckham left the pitch he did receive a small round of applause, but nothing like he deserved. He did turn around and return the applause. The arrogant LA Galaxy says thats ok; The Galaxy was there before Beckham, and they will be there After Beckham. The truth is that once David Beckham leaves; The LA Galaxy, The MLS, and American Football will all be on the losing end. With hindsight always being 20/20 Beckham would probably have been better appreciated in Seattle. Once he is gone goodbye Thierry Henry, goodbye Barcelona, goodbye Cristiano Ronaldo, goodbye Real Madrid, hello Landon Donovan, hello again mediocrity. Just maybe he will exercise the rumored portion of his contract to start his own MLS franchise.
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