As Hollywood scripts go, David Beckham’s career could make the Lords of the Rings trilogy look like a mere drop in the ocean. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but last night the latest chapter in DB23’s career passed off without a hitch as Los Angeles Galaxy picked up its third, and Beckham’s first, MLS Cup. While the 1-0 victory over Houston Dynamo may represent a milestone for the team Beckham moved to five years ago, the lasting effect Golden Balls leaves that may be a lot more telling though.
If the former England talisman decides the petro-trillions of Paris Saint Germain is where his next challenge lies, the league has no doubt benefitted from his star. Outside the crazy world of Jean-Marc Bosman, there aren’t many that can testify to having a law or rule known after them. Becks can.
When Galaxy Philip Anschutz decided time was ripe to sign the England international back in 2007, it meant a new “Designated Player” rule being introduced by the league – mainly to make sure LA could accommodate Becks’ $6.5million per annum salary. The move led to what many call the “internationalization” of the league and it’s not just a load of European has-beens that have moved over the pond.That might be half true but when the likes of Thierry Henry are joining Becks to see out the twilight of their career it can only be good for what is a league still in its infancy.
Beckham’s time on the fringes of Hollywood has seen expansion of the league on an unprecedented level. When he arrived, there was a core of 13 teams. That number has reached 19 teams and expanded into Canada when the big man arrived in 2007, with Toronto receiving the country’s first team. The league’s 19th team, Montreal Impact, marks the 15th state or province the league has entered and the goal of 20 teams by 2013 will be met. Future teams will be forthcoming and San Diego, Las Vegas, Detroit, San Antonio and Atlanta are among those interested. There’s even strong momentum behind New York Cosmos being revived.
All-American hero Landon Donovan is one of the symbols of the MLS and now even he comes under the designated player rule. The hometown boy notched his 20th playoff goal to stretch his lead at the top of that leader board and make sure Becks leaves with at least one winner’s medal. Donovan finished after a pass from Galaxy’s newest designated player, Robbie Keane, after a ball to him from Becks. If nothing else, Keane’s move across the Atlantic illustrates the league’s popularity will continue to grow once DB has left.
When the former England captain does leave, it will be with a heavy heart. The legacy he leaves will mean that any ill feeling towards him would be entirely unfounded and see completely past the fact that this man has done so much for not just US soccer but football on a world basis. Not long until he becomes a knight to go with it either.