There's no doubt that Grant Wahl, of SI and now The Beckham Experiment fame, is in a number of ways ridding along on the coattails of Beckham, much like the MLS is trying to do. They are both trying to piggyback off of the Beckham brand. They are both trying to boost sales, whether it's tickets or books or jerseys.
Yet Wahl, seems to want to create some fissure between the two, or maybe he just wants a better story. And ironically, or purposely, that fissure, whether it's Donovan saying Beckham wasn't professional or questioning Beckhams commitment to the MLS, turns out to drive up the interest of both the book and the games Beckham takes part in. I know I'm curious to see how Beckham plays in his first game back and how the crowd reacts.
Will he silence the critics with a goal? Let's hope. For me, it's amazing how much pressure he is under in many ways. Just to come and play in the MLS was a bold move. Yes, he was given a pile of money, but he also paid out some of that money to go play for AC Milan. It's not like Beckham is off partying somewhere. He had a break and chose to continue to play so he would have a chance to play for his country. It's really amazing that Beckham is hammered upon for wanting to play for one of the best teams in the world and for his country.
Many who have read The Beckham Experiment, and reviewed it, say the most interesting story is of those MLS players who have to take second jobs, coaching or the like, and then you have Beckham salary. Beckham coming to the MLS has shown how soccer in Europe in on another plane, not just in salaries, but play, fans, lifestyle, passion and so on. It's a culture over there, here it's just a niche game. But it is a game that players love, and will do it no matter what they're making.
You can't question Beckham's desire and ability. If you watched any of the Galaxy games, Beckham stood out, along with Donovan, as a player of supreme quality. His main fault may have been trying to do too much, come back too soon from injury, travel around too much, and then try to take over the game when that's not really his role. He lost the ball against Chicago in his first year in a pivotal game, mainly because he was trying to do too much.
In the press conference, Beckham recalls Roy Keane, saying that if you asked Keane if Beckham was professional once he stepped on to the training pitch, he knows what the answer would be. Beckham has never let anything outside of the game affect his play.
Over in Washington D.C., the judiciary committee is vetting Sotomayor, as a potential member of the United States Supreme Court, you'd think Beckham was being vetted for some kind of MLS ambassador position. He's going to lose his ambassadorship or something?
I don't know how Beckham has time to play soccer. He just did the Today Show and then someone is always shoving a microphone or camera in his face. I'm sure he be happy to get this first game out of the way and settle into the team again.
He has made is bed so to speak, in choosing to become a global brand, marrying a Spice Girl and doing all of the racy ads, but when it gets down to it, he's a soccer player. The MLS, on a financial side, are trying to wring in as much money as they can from the Beckham brand, as many in soccer are.