With David Beckham’s future well and truly up in the air amidst rumors that he could be set to join PSG, Tottenham, QPR, or even stay with the Galaxy, it is perhaps time for a proper summary of what the English legend has brought to the professional game in America.
When Becks left the Santiago Bernabeu five years ago for the American West Coast, many thought he was crazy and taking a huge step down; and whilst Major League Soccer has not yet become the destination of the world’s top players, Beckham has helped to at least draw big names to the league to increase its profile.
Before Beckham made the move, it seemed inconceivable that names like Thierry Henry, Torsten Frings, and Robbie Keane would make their living stateside. By virtue of his strong global presence, Beckham has, in turn, had a direct effect on the quality of the league, enhancing its reputation and raising the bar for the average MLS footballer.
In a similar fashion, he has also made American teams more attractive for potential investors; Qatari money-men have been interested mainly in European sides for now, but the prospect of an MLS side being taken over is a tantalizing one, for one lucky set of fans at least.
MLS commissioner Don Garber has praised the winger for all he has done for the game in the United States, and hopes to have Beckham stay with the league both as a player, and maybe in an ownership capacity.
This is where it gets interesting for Beckham- he arguably still has a few years left in his playing career to contribute to some degree at the top level, for example in Ligue 1 with PSG; lets say he has two high-quality years left to play on.
However, with Garber’s offer of control of a franchise, Beckham’s role as one of the most powerful men in the American game would be solidified, and his future would simply be building and recruiting his own team, much easier to him than for most people due to his extensive career and contacts in football.
This, however, would lock down his future in America for some time at least, and no one is sure what exactly his plan is.
But the route Garber and company are taking to persuade him to stay in MLS is an important endeavor, one with big implications for the continued growth of the league after the monumental Beckham years.