The David Beckham era in North American soccer is coming to an end. After six seasons with the L.A. Galaxy, the English international midfielder will leave the team following the MLS Cup final on Dec. 1.
While he has been featured in many tabloid mags living in L.A. and has had a positive impact on the sport in North America, I don’t believe that he will leave the type of legacy that his supposed “$250-million move,” was supposed to bring.
Now, I’m not saying that Becks didn’t get more people watching and paying attention to MLS, because he certainly did. If anything, his legacy will be that he showed European stars that moving to the U.S. or Canada was an acceptable career move. If not for Beckham, we might not have seen Thierry Henry, Torsten Frings or Robbie Keane cross the Atlantic.
And while many will be quick to point out the rise in soccer in North America during his time here, we have also seen a nice rise in the U.S. national team in the international stage.
So what happens next for the man with the million-dollar right foot? Well the rumour mill has been going for a couple of weeks already. There is talk about going to play in the A League in Australia, but is he really willing to go to a league of lower calibre than MLS?
Back in January, there was talk of Becks going on loan to a team in England, but is that really feasible? He would want to play for a team with either title aspirations or a side that’s alive in Europe. In that case, he wouldn’t be getting much playing time at all. If he wanted to get a full 90 – or something close – every week, he’d have to settle for a lesser team, which would be unlikely to meet his wage demands.
I think the most likely scenario is that Beckham will sign in China, where aging players like Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka have gone to make a ton of money. Beckham could be looking for another massive payday while also growing his already-massive brand.
He does the option to become an MLS team owner – something that was part of most recent contract – but I don’t see that happening for another couple of years, at least until after he retires.