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On the day of publishing this text, September 27th 2007, Beckham’s LA Galaxy is playing against the KC Wizards., as the author of this text, had the insight in MLS through KC Wizards in the summer of 2006, a year prior to Beckham’s arrival in the MLS. At that time KC Wizard’s head coach complained about having himself and 2 more assistant coaches to run the team’s training, forcing him to leave several players from 26 man roster sitting on the bench because of not being able to have them all on the field during trainings at the same time.

The training facilities included one open-air field and the in-door field with gym used by the NFL team KC Chiefs, within the Arrowhead Stadium complex. The Wizard’s open air-training field was situated next to the fence aside KC Chiefs training fields.

Grass on the Wizards field was almost separated turfs on the ground as hard as a rock, a field where many players would pass on training in order to avoid injuries. A head coach, 2 assist coaches, fitness trainer… NFL stadium and facilities… small office space at the corner of a stadium… it would be quite a contrast to the clubs from leagues where Beckham previously played.


Majority MLS players come in the league as drafted college players. usually means player’s playing for a full ride scholarship with the first pro contracts signed at the age of 22 or so. In other countries, first pro contracts are usually signed at the age of 18, at the age of 22 the player is coming out of a 4 year contract and managers have a better understanding of a player’s capabilities in pro football.

This means college players are 4 years behind. By signing a first pro contract at the age of 22, they would come out of the 4 year contract at the age of 26, at that time, major world football clubs would rather invest their money in a 22 year old’s prospect who has also had 4 years of pro football experience. College players hardly pass over playing in the MLS (players’ first pro contract) on their way to better paid leagues as most foreign clubs would not sign a college league soccer player with no pro football experience at the age of 22.

Prominent American players like DeMarkus Beasley ($2million to PSV – Netherlands, currently for £700,000 with Rangers – Scotland) or Tim Howard ($4million to Man Utd – England, currently with Everton after being loaned), joined MLS directly from high-school without playing college soccer, just like Freddy Adu.

For an average football fan with the choice to watch a variety of matches, e.g. the giants of the game squaring up in domestic leagues like this past weekend when it was Man Utd vs Chelsea in England, Barcelona vs Sevilla in Spain, Roma vs Juventus in Italy, PSV vs Feyenoord in the Netherlands… Boca Juniors games in Argentina, Lyon in France… there’s little space for MLS.

A football fan wants to see the competitiveness, passionate fans, decades-long fierce rivalry between the clubs, tradition, the world’s best players, established players with reputation of playing for prestigious clubs, ultra-modern football-specific stadiums, most of which the MLS does not offer. The MLS needs to gain the interest of the American public and media in order to gain the same interest with the world public. Hard-working, attractive all-around players like Eddie Johnson of the KC Wizards or DC United’s Jaime Moreno, who proved their quality in this summer’s Copa America 2007 are the prototype players for a successful competitive league.

The MLS’s proposed soccer-specific modern stadiums for all clubs are a step forwards. German Bundesliga witnessed tremendous boost of public interest and media attention on domestic and global level prior to and after the World Cup 2006, with a legacy of great new and renewed old stadiums. The MLS ought to internationalize as much as possible, the English Premiership did it, when foreign billionaires started buying clubs, world class players arrived in even great number to make it the most watched and profitable football league in the world. Many writers have speculated on why football is not as popular in the U.S. as it is in some other countries, most of them point to the fact that the game does not have enough scoring. Changing rules of the game in favor of having more goals per game may be beneficial this time around.

Football is a powerful force, it already changed the North American major league sports philosophy, MLS clubs are competing in the Super League and the Copa Sudamericana, The New York Red Bulls new stadium will feature a full “European-style” roof, in 2007 MLS started selling ad space on the front of jersey (a floor of $500,000 per shirt sponsorship), following the practice of the international football.

As the Latin American immigration increases in the US, so is the interest in football. With football being the most popular recreational sport for both boys and girls, the MLS has potential. In 2006 Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, expressed his expectations for the league’s clubs to be profitable by 2010 overall. LA Galaxy’s merchandise sales through Beckham’s next 4 four years with the club may not top $600 million as it was during his time with Real Madrid, still an MLS player made onto the covers of Sports Illustrated magazine and gather a crowd of 66,000 spectators at a packed Giants Stadium.


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