Jeff Baker at New University wrote an interesting article today about David Beckham and his contributions (or lack thereof) to the development of soccer in North America. It’s true that this is a tough market to crack. We seem to love technical games like football and baseball or fighting games like boxing, ultimate fighting, wrestling and hockey. If you put those two together soccer represents a game we wouldn’t enjoy. Low scoring easy to understand games with players acting like pansy’s in the field.
Jeff Baker argued that Beckham was acquired by the LA Galaxy as a promotional tool rather than a player. He does play, but it looks like Beckham only saves his good moves for Real Madrid or Team England. Is it because he doesn’t have a good enough team to work with? I could have argued on that, but come on it’s been long enough now Beckham needs to prove that he’s playing in the MLS. Soccer will never be what it could be if no one really tries.
So far the only contributions Beckham has given the MLS and LA Galaxy is sales of Galaxy jerseys and increased ticket prices ($400, up from $100 pre-Beckham). I think it’s time to pull the plug on Beckham and just duke it out with North American soccer. Maybe change the rules, shorten the field size, allow tackles. That sort of thing. They’ll never get to play for FIFA but who cares, it will get people watching the game.