85 Kyle Beckerman's
The LA Galaxy could have signed 85 Kyle Beckerman's instead of David Beckham. Beckerman is making $160,650 this year playing for Real Salt Lake. Beckham is making $5.5 million this year in base salary, along with $200 million over the five year contract.
However, even if Beckerman played in Beckham's Armani underwear, he wouldn't draw in the fans like Mr. David Beckham, whether they're real soccer fans or ones that just know Beckham by all the tabloid pics and like the way he looks - Beckham is just a big draw on a number of levels besides soccer. And that's why Mr. Beckham gets all the loot, not Beckerman.
What would we have though in LA if they signed all those Beckerman's instead of Beckham? A player who shows up week in and week out. Since he doesn't have to fly to England to play for his country. A player who works hard, but I think Beckham works hard. A player who is a team player, although maybe a quiet leader like Beckham, but meshes in well with the side. A player who wants to win desperately, but I think Beckham does too.
If you look at the Houston Dynamo, a team that frowns upon signing any big name players, they buy good players on the cheap rather than big named stars. They sign a bunch of quality players and spread the money around. Sure, this is what the LA Galaxy could have easily done, and won more games and maybe been even a championship.
It's the same old story though, and it's almost like people don't realize it or want to create drama, Beckham was signed broaden the appeal of the MLS, and not just the Galaxy.
Who else could they have signed on the cheap?
Or, let's take another player from Beckham's own Galaxy team, Landon Donvoan, LA could have signed 6 Landon Donvoan's. Or how about rookie AJ De La Garza from national champion Maryland, who is making just $36,000 a year. LA could have signed nearly 153 De La Garza's. He's a skillful defender, a fighter in the mode of Ashley Cole or Patrica Evra. But he's a rookie, new to the game, and you can only field 11 players at a time, not 153.
The LA Galaxy fans have to realize this is a business. That Beckham is a soccer player but also a global icon. This was a deal with the devil in a way, expand the MLS's game around the world, which they have done. Sell more tickets to games. Which they've done. Sell more jerseys, which they've done. Maybe win more games and some MLS championship trophies...not yet.
LA isn't losing money with Beckham. Teams are losing when he's not playing. With the number of jersey's they're selling and the increase attendance across the league. It would be interesting to see more recent numbers on this though. That will tell the real story. But his addition to the league has brought a lot of attention to the MLS around the world. Sure both good and bad stuff, but attention nonetheless.
And then they got a windfall of attention when there was a backlash against Beckham, fans booing and even Beckham confronting a fan. Beckham didn't need to do that, that was a poor decision by Beckham, but at least it was him and not his wife, Posh, throwing her shoes at the LA Riot Squad. A Posh outburst would have been good TV though.
Do the LA fans realize that the games wouldn't be as exciting without the Beckham show on board, the good and the bad?
Did anyone watch the Chivas versus Galaxy, incorrectly called EL Superclasico? It was boring. Zidane was there and left early. And then Beckham comes and plays his first game in New York and we've got some excitement.
Why are LA fans so upset, because he left to play in one of the best leagues in the world and he wants to play in the World Cup? He didn't go binge drinking with his Manchester United buddies over the summer or something. The guy just wants to get the most out of his final years of professional soccer. Deep down does Beckham wish he just would have stayed in Europe and not left Real Madrid? Maybe.
But there is more to this soap opera, Donvoan might just face up against David Beckham in the Serie A, as nearly promoted side, Livorno, wants to sign the American. Are the Galaxy fans going to complain now? 'Donvoan, you can't go, you owe it to us to stay.' Sports is all business, don't you know.
Still though, MLS commissioner Don Garber chose Beckerman instead of Beckham for the MLS All-Star game, and even All-Star team coach Dominic Kinnear snubbed Beckham. But I'm guessing it was because Beckham didn't want to play...or had an injury.
Is there another player in the world the MLS could have signed and created as much buzz and attention? I don't think so. Say they sign Zidane, he would have left after the first year in frustration.
The question now though, when Beckham is done and retires, who does the MLS sign to replace him. Who can the MLS sign that will sell jerseys and pack the stadiums. Who's the next Beckham. Or, will the league be strong enough to pay guys like Kyle Beckerman more money...