David Beckham: “This is not something that’s going to happen in the next 2-3 years; it’s Going to Take 5-10 years for this Sport to get Bigger”November 6, 2009 – 6:30 am by Zach Krantz
Soccer was supposed to be brought into every household, it was supposed to be the new hot sport in America, and it was supposed to become one of the mainstream sports in the states. Too bad nothing is guaranteed, well except for the contract David Beckham got when he was supposed to be the savior for soccer and make it the new big sport in the USA. Beckham is a name that most soccer followers know very well, he was the captain of England’s soccer club from 2000-2006, a very prestigious honor. He also was such a big name globally that he was crowned the “one” to make soccer a mainstream sport.
In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy. His debut lasted 12 minutes against Chelsea, 27,000 people attended and it was start studded, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Garnett, Katie Holmes all were in attendance, it was the last time soccer was at the limelight in the states. Numbers have grown attendance and fan-wise for the sports in the USA, but nothing like what was thought to be when Beckham came to the Galaxy and signed a contract worth $250 million, that’s including sponsorships as well. The money was not the only thing questioned when he came to play in the MLS, it was also the intentions. Could Beckham really make soccer, I mean football a mainstream sport in the states, I said no then and I say no now, but it’s not Beckham’s fault.
David Beckham joined Fox Sports Radio to talk about soccer in the USA, his LA Galaxy team and intentions to play for England in the next World Cup.
Asked about the fans in the USA and the popularity of Soccer in general:
“Despite what people say, whether the game is growing or whether its not, in my eyes it is. There is different franchises going up around the league, there are different stadiums being built, and there is new young talent that’s coming in. I think that’s what you have to look at, you look at the statistics of the first year or two, and the crowds were up. I mean to play in front of 69,000 in New York was special. The majority of the stadiums we visit sell out, so the interest is there. I always said when I first came to the US and the MLS that this is not something that’s going to happen in the next 2-3 years, it’s going to take 5-10 years for this sport to get bigger. I always also said that it’s not going to be as big as basketball, American football or baseball, but it would be nice to be up there, it would be nice to be to focus on soccer for a while because everywhere else in the world it’s the number one sport.”
Asked what it is about soccer that it has been so slow to come on in the USA:
“I think its different things, it’s nothing taken away from basketball, baseball and American football, they are amazing sports. American people should be passionate about those because it’s like me being passionate about soccer, I was brought up on. What I have noticed is there is a lot of young kids put there that want to play soccer out there. Before I arrived me and Victoria were talking about her being a soccer mom. That’s great when you see soccer moms and the parents taking their kids to soccer practice or games. What I will say is that there is so much more money in the other sports, once there is more money generated through the organizations and put into soccer, kids will see there are opportunities to play in Europe and on the US National team.”
Asked what year he was “taken away” from home to start playing soccer:
“I always knew what I wanted at a young age. I only ever wanted to play soccer. When I was in school once one of my teachers turned to me and asked what I want to do when I am finished with school, and I said I wanted to be a soccer player. And she said, no as a real job what do you want to do. And I said no that’s what I want to do and I always had that belief. I was always a Manchester United fan, so I wanted to play for Manchester United. So I moved up to Manchester and moved away from my parents when I was 15 and played on from then.”