On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.

1.13.2007

Bend it Like L. Ron

This hit the wires yesterday, but I was too busy ranting about work to comment.

Can Beckham sell the U.S. on soccer?

Basically the story goes like this: David Beckham, one of the word's biggest soccer players, is losing his touch by European standards, and appears to be looking for a graceful exit from that stage. Even though Major League Soccer in the U.S. has managed to stay afloat for 11 years, despite the U.S. men's team performance two world cups ago, despite the fact that the U.S. women's team dominates, despite the fact that Brandy Chastain flashed the world, and despite the fact that Mia Hamm was properly hot and seemed to be everywhere for awhile, soccer struggles to gain mindshare in America. A lot of people think soccer is for pansies.

So, why would Beckham ditch his stardom for the land where soccer is for little boys and football is for men? I'm sure his $250 million salary is a big reason. I question the rationale of spending that kind of cash on one player in a league where many players make a very average, middle-American salary.

Here's what Beckham has to say about the move:


"Beckham said in a statement Thursday that the move had stemmed in part from his desire to help raise the profile of soccer in the United States.

'There are so many great sports in America,' he said. 'There are so many kids that play baseball, American football, basketball. But soccer is huge all around the world apart from America, so that's where I want to make a difference with the kids.'"


Why would a foreigner want to help raise the profile of soccer in the U.S.? I know we're the third world of soccer, but c'mon. This is lame and surely a statement his publicist concocted.

My money is on Tom Cruise and Scientology. Somewhere along the way, Becks and his wife Posh Spice befriended Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes even making it on their wedding guest list. I'm sure they've spent enough time with each other for Tom Cruise to convert both Becks and Posh to Scientologists. They may also need a U.S. visa, not sure how that works for famous people who just want to hang around Hollywood. He was conveniently recruited to play for the L.A. team.

It'll be interesting to see if he even has much celebrity status in the U.S. I venture to say that learned sports fans may know who he is, even those that hate soccer. A few more people have a vague idea who he is since the movie, "Bend it like Beckham," was a big success in the U.S, though few people will know what he looks like. However, I guarantee that folks like my dad have no clue who he is. Beckham may be super huge everywhere else in the world, but I bet he could freely walk around any Wal-Mart and the only thing anyone would notice is his moussed hair.

I do know one thing: he really must stop calling our football "American Football" promptly upon arrival.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Reid said...

I think you hit on the two reasons he's doing this: 1) the money and 2) because he can come to the US and easily be the best player.

While there is that obnoxious conception that soccer is for pansies, I think it's even more damaging that soccer is seen as a kid's game, which the MLS doesn't exactly discourage by naming their teams things like the Galaxy and the Dynamo, and now Beckham is talking about "doing it for the kids". Get out the orange slices, soccer moms: Beckham goes American.

3:46 PM GMT+1

 
Blogger akaijen said...

Cuz the Dolphins and Cardinals are real manly team names. ;)

I dunno why this Beckham thing hits a nerve with me. I never gave him much thought b/4. I guess it's the idea that somehow soccer needs to be saved. It's annoying that Europeans complain all the time that Americans aren't crazy for soccer like they are.

4:14 PM GMT+1

 
Blogger PeeKay said...

dude, you know that tomkat has beckham by the balls. hello, can posh spice look anymore like a porn silicone doll?(open mouth- insert...)EW.

*I* call AMfootball, AmFootball. mostly, b/c i hate it, but now I know im in company with my hottie.

you're just sad b/c you wont be with me at the dc united game when LA comes to town.(it will also be the first game for me in 3 years-sad) b/c you KNOW i would getting a girl posse to go and rip off our shirts. hahah.

3:34 AM GMT+1

 
Blogger akaijen said...

Dude, the Aussies call it soccer. Of course they already have something like three other versions of football that they're keeping track of. If the version of football in Starship Troopers is to ever come into being, it will be born in Australia for sure.

Sorry PeeKay, I just don't go for Beckham - he's too pretty and glam for me. And I can't take anyone seriously who marries a spice girl. I mean c'mon - spice girl. They were the worst kind of squeeze cheese.

The BBC had shots of her landing at the airport "only two days after Beckham announced his move to LA" looking vaguely like Michael Jackson with her sunglasses and ball cap. I think it was more her stiff gate that seemed Jackson-like. B- and I both wondered if all the photographers were on assignment form Hello!.

Then again, we just watched the pilot for Dirt and are full of theories now. ;)

2:24 PM GMT+1

 
Anonymous doc paradox said...

I think it was said best by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show:

"The arrival of Beckham in the United States will give Americans a whole new exciting way in which to ignore soccer."

6:04 PM GMT+1

 

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