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The Return of the Experiment

     In The USA there has been great discussion of David Beckham’s return to the LA Galaxy.  The media coverage of the return of Beckham from AC Milan has intensified due to the fact that noted sportwriter Grant Wahl coincidentally timed the release of his book, The Beckham Experiement, with the return of David Beckham.  Flames of contoversy were fanned when critics and sports shows started quoting LA Galaxy fordward Landon Donovan’s passage from the book.  Donovan criticized Bekham’s committment to the LA Galaxy, and challanged his professionalism.  The fire from the book has helped to once again bring the LA Galaxy and David Beckham to the forefront of US sports.  Upon his return to Los Angeles David Beckham met with Landon Donovan privately; behind closed doors.  We, as spectators, probably received the gentlemens version; but one can only imagine what was said.

     Both the timing, and the book itself should be questioned for its paparazzi like attempt at promotion.  I think that the general sports fan in the US cannot possibly understand the complexity of football (soccer), let alone the situation of David Beckham.  Beckham’s concern is match fitness at the highest level.  Fabio Capello demands that his players maintain match fitness to be competitive on the England mens national team.  Optimum match fitness cannot be attained playing at the MLS level.  In order for David Beckham to maintain his level of performance he must compete in Europe.  Even on the US mens team the most competent players play for European clubs.  If the US mens team were forced to rely on MLS players only, the team would compete at a level lower than they are currently at.

     If we were to dig deeper into the comments made by Landon Donovan; we might come away with the same questions that Donovan has regarding Beckham.  Were was Landon Donovan from 21 November 2008 until 15 March 2009?  Answer: FC Bayern Munich.  Donovan was on a transfer from the LA Galaxy.  Landon Donovan was quoted several times saying that if given the opportunity he would be willing to make a switch to a European club.  At the end of the loan Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz  Rummenigge was quoted as saying, “…that with strikers such as Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni already available additional forwards should be young with perspective”.  Donovans comments come across as the rantings of a dejected, spoiled child that did not get his way.

     Wahl starts his Beckham bashing at the beggining, and does not let up.  He questions David Beckhams motives and successes both on and off the pitch.  Wahl, like all of the other mindless sports dictators, had his mind made up that Beckham would fail from the start.  Wahls most recent article in Sports Illustrated is still full of venom and bile.  Wahl is on a lengthy list of sports writers that have a bias toward football (soccer) on the North American Continent.  These writers feel threatened by a sport that is not American in origin.  They operate under the misconception that football (soccer) is played by children; and upper class children in private schools, not in the streets like in Mexico, and South America.  Writer Mike Celizic says that baseball, and American gridiron football; are too ingrained in the American sports psyche to allow football (soccer) in.  Celizic says that football (soccer) fans have to create their own excitement due to a lack of excitement on the pitch?  How can this man sit through a baseball game.  Most people would rather go through a dental procedure, instead of enduring baseballs three hour monotonous march toward what seems like infinity.

     I, along with many other true football fans in the US, believe that the Beckham experiment has not been a failure.  My point is that after two years he is still making headlines in this country both on and off the pitch.  David and Victoria Beckham still get stalked by paparazzi in this country.  The Beckham’s lifestyle is still tabloid fodder for the tabloid journalist; they make news when their family is on an outing.  The US, regardless of what nay saying baseball fiends are espousing, is experiencing a growth in football (soccer).  The US mens team is actually getting their matches broadcasted.  Seattle Sounders FC sold out their match with Chelsea on 18 July, 2009; that’s over 60,000 seats.  The Galaxy match against AC Milan is a sell out.  Other European clubs coming to the US such as Inter Milan, and Barcelona are selling out large venues.  The secret is out about football (soccer).  The spotlight of David Beckham, coupled with the recent success of the US mens national team has caused many people to take notice.  Immigrant cultures from south of the US border are bringing their love of the beautiful game and introducing it to everyone.  I live in college football (American Gridiron) country; Oklahoma City.  on a Sunday afternoon in south Oklahoma City there is a vacant secondary school pitch that is full of all different kinds of people, ages and nationalities, playing football ( soccer) as it should be; disorganized on a street level, away from the bureaucracy that governs and places the sport out of reach for everyone else.  Ten years ago they would be playing baseball.  Thank God for the Beckham experiment.

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