CARSON, Calif. – An interesting piece in the Sporting News has a fairly new take on the Beckham experiment in MLS.
And that’s no small feat; by now, pretty much every slant has been sliced, diced and dissected. Not just this year, but last year, too. Remember, curiosity factor was high last at MLS Cup time year over Beckham’s plans after the 2011 title contest.
So the stories of Beckham’s mighty impact on MLS bounced high and hard off the usual soccer platforms. I’ve said before, the people who cannot see how Beckham drew in more general audience gaze, how he enhanced MLS general awareness beyond the niche market and increased the value of sponsorships and TV contracts, well, they simply don’t want to see it.
So, there’s that.
Meanwhile, the Sporting News’ Brian Straus makes the case that Beckham helped grow MLS and domestic soccer in one way that hasn’t been addressed as much.
This story says, essentially, that a certain animosity that Beckham fostered helped the league mature. More specifically, the league’s fan base lost a little of its innocence due the man.
It’s an interesting premise. Indeed, when Beckham arrived in 2007 there was much fawning and falling over in awe and such. The young ‘tweener screamer factor was high.
But something happened along the way as Beckham snubbed certain MLS events to go abroad and do … whatever. Then he lost more style points when Grant Wahl’s book came out, detailing a slightly less cheery side of the whole thing.
Then there were the boos at home, when his own fans said “enough,” calling the man on a perceived lack of commitment.
It wasn’t enough to just be David Beckham at that point; the fans wanted him to be more of The L.A. Galaxy’s David Beckham – if you know what I mean. Said Beckham:
I’ve played the villain quite a few times in my career. (But) I’ve never been booed by my own fans.”
(Check back in a while; we’ll have plenty of MLS Cup 2012 coverage)