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David Beckham’s MLS legacy lives on a decade and a half after game-changing transfer

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January 2007 will be remembered as another month where the United States of America reminded everyone around the globe that it was the cultural leader of the world yet again.

Tech titans Apple changed the global communication landscape forever with the announcement of their new product – the ‘iPhone’, while it was a clean sweep for a number of American superstars at the 64th annual Golden Globes.

What is often forgotten is that January 2007 marks the first time in a long time that the United States took their seat at the table of world football alongside Europe’s big-hitters.

The reason for this is that on January 11, 2007, Major League Soccer got its very first superstar in global icon and former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham.

United’s iconic number seven, and Real Madrid’s 23, announced he would be joining the LA Galaxy come the end of that season on a five-year deal worth a reported £128million.







Having been announced as an LA Galaxy player on 11 January 2007, Beckham was presented by the club that summer
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HAVE YOUR SAY! Did Beckham’s move save the MLS? Comment below

‘Goldenballs’ swapped the Santiago Bernabeu for the City of Angels and barely looked back, while shifting the attitude towards ‘soccer’ in the states more than surely even he could have ever predicted.

Beckham was not the first Brit to try his hand at the sport on the other side of the Atlantic, in fact he was not even the first United legend to do so given George Best appeared 55 times for the Los Angeles Aztecs over a two-year period in the 70’s.

What the arrival of someone of Beckham’s stature did do was revive what was undeniably a dying sport Stateside.

Prior to Beckham’s arrival, ‘the Galaxy’ were averaging around 20,000 spectators per game, 330,000 over the course of an entire campaign.







Beckham shirts quickly flew off the shelves in LA
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Add the footballer-turned-actor-turned model that is Beckham into the mix and fans flocked in their droves causing those figures to rise to 26,000 and 390,000 respectively.

Just six leagues the world over boast a higher average attendance than the MLS nowadays meaning Beckham’s impact is still being felt.

According to one of Beckham’s former managers in Bruce Arena, now of the New England Revolution, his impact will continue to be felt for decades to come.

“The signing of David probably kept MLS around forever,” Arena claimed.

“He gave us global attention. The investment in the league is tremendous. We’re moving forward in every area.”

As Beckham himself revealed, that was exactly the plan.

“With me, it’s about football,” he said. “I’m coming there to make a difference. I’m coming there to play football.

“I’m not saying me coming over to the States is going to make soccer the biggest sport in America. That would be difficult to achieve.

“Baseball, basketball, American football, they’ve been around. But I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could make a difference.”

The former England captain made quite the difference and was in many ways a pioneer for the swathes of Premier League talent that would duly follow him stateside in the years to come.







Beckham is credited as having ‘saved’ MLS
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Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard – the names read like a who’s who of the English football elite, all three enjoying short stints with three different MLS outfits.

A decade-and-a-half on and football fans would be hard pushed to find a world class talent from the noughties that didn’t spend some time plying their trade in the ‘land of the free’.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry took a bite out of the ‘big apple’ while at New York Red Bulls, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic ‘conquered’ the league with the Galaxy.

Beckham is thought to have actually played a crucial part in luring the Swede to LA after taking the former Inter Milan striker to dinner in Beverley Hills alongside Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski.

After sharing a dressing room together at Paris Saint-Germain, Ibrahimovic revealed Beckham recommended he experience football in America before he hangs up his boots.

“I met David when I played in PSG and he talked a lot about Galaxy, the experience he had in America, he was all positive,” Ibrahimovic said in an interview with the MLS website.







Several other big names joined Beckham in the US
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“He was like: ‘You should come over, go over, and try it out, play there’.

“He said everything is fantastic, it’s in progress, but to be part of it is something amazing and something he was proud of.”

Beckham’s time in the MLS was at times interrupted by injuries but not bereft of the kind of spectacular set-pieces that have become his trademark over the course of his career.

Two MLS Cups and three Western Conference play-off wins ensures the American chapter of Beckham’s career is as littered with honours as all the others.

One clause in Beckham’s playing contract with the Galaxy would go on to create MLS history more than a decade later when he become the owner and founder of new franchise club Inter Miami.

A provision of his contract allowed him the option of buying an MLS expansion franchise in any market except New York City at the fixed price of $25m whenever he stopped playing in the league.







Beckham is now at the helm of MLS club Inter Miami
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He duly activated this clause 12 years after he first penned the original deal with Galaxy, though Inter Miami’s start was anything but easy.

Covid-19 scuppered their debut season, which came six years after Beckham’s consortium announcing ownership of the Miami-based franchise in February 2014.

The bulk of the delays surrounding their start was trying to find the right land for a custom-built stadium, a delay that took so long Beckham’s team very nearly pulled out of the deal entirely.

After years in the making, Inter Miami finally played their first game in March 2020 and finished last season eleventh in the Eastern Conference.

Beckham faced accusations of favouritism when he appointed former United and England teammate Phil Neville as manager, but was quick to downplay that kind of talk.







Beckham’s former Manchester United teammate Phil Neville is Inter Miami’s coach
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“I’ve known him since I was 15, 16 years old, from a young kid. I knew what he was like as a player, I know what he’s like as a human being, I know what his work ethic is like,” he explained.

“Him and his brother Gary, I’ve never seen two players work as hard at their game in my whole career. So to actually have someone like that come into this club – of course, people are always going to turn around and say, ‘oh, it’s because he’s your friend’ – it’s nothing to do with him being my friend.”

While the club are yet to sign anyone of a similar star power to Beckham’s when he first arrived, fans in Miami are hopeful that ‘Brand Beckham’ can bring good times to the east coast much like he did on the westside in Los Angeles all those years ago.

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Toronto FC’s GoalMachine takes home eMLS League Series One title

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It was a historic performance for the Toronto man, who just signed as the Reds’ eMLS representative in December and was making his debut appearance on the circuit. With the victory, he delivered Toronto FC’s first eMLS final appearance and championship in club history.

He got everything he could handle in the final from PauloNeto999, who had a 3-2 aggregate lead in the 88th minute of the second leg, only to see GoalMachine strike for a clutch late equalizer to force extra time.





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Lion Links: 1/16/22 – The Mane Land

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Hello, Mane Landers! This week kept The Mane Land staff team busy with breaking news, which must indicate the opening of Orlando City’s preseason camp is right around the corner. Tuesday, to be exact. Let’s head to the links!

Pato Returns to Orlando City

Orlando City announced Saturday morning the re-signing of center forward Alexandre Pato to a one-year deal. The Lions’ front office does not include financial terms when it announces transactions. However, multiple outlets reported the deal mostly consists of performance incentives. Pato was injured in the first game of last season and ultimately appeared in only four regular season matches and the Lions’ lone playoff game in Nashville. The accomplished Brazilian striker, if he can stay healthy, and Tesho Akindele are expected to provide goal-scoring depth behind whomever is acquired to succeed Daryl Dike up top. We’re going to sign more guys, right?

Moments after the club announced the return of Pato, which means “duck” in Portuguese, the Lions’ assistant general manager and technical director Ricardo Moreira tweeted perhaps the catchiest celebration of the news. LDG!

Pato shared an announcement video in which he promised “2022 will be better than the last one.”

Lions Announce 2022 Preseason Schedule

The Lions will face five MLS sides and Florida’s two USL Championship clubs in preseason action. All seven matches will be played behind closed doors. The preseason opener is Jan. 23 against an MLS club not yet named. Orlando City will also play Minnesota United, FC Dallas, and the Colorado Rapids. The Lions will battle the USL’s Miami FC, which is now led by former Orlando City B head coach Anthony Pulis. The Welshman played for Orlando City from 2012-2014 when it competed in USL Pro. The Lions and the Tampa Bay Rowdies square off on Feb. 19 to close out the schedule. Even though it’s a preseason match and the two teams compete in different tiers, is it still considered an I-4 derby? I think so.

Weston McKinnie Is On Fire

Juventus and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie is the hottest American player in the world right now. McKennie headed in Juve’s second goal in its 2-0 triumph over Udinese yesterday, and he has now netted eight goals in 50 Serie A competitions. Yesterday’s goal followed one he scored in Juve’s Italian Supercoppa loss to Inter Milan on Wednesday. The American continues to improve on the pitch and that bodes well for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it prepares to resume Concacaf World Cup qualifiying later this month.

Reports: Che & Bassett to Europe; Arriola to Mexico City

MLSSoccer.com’s Transfer Tracker shared reports that two young MLS players will soon be loaned to European clubs for 18 months with options to buy. FC Dallas will reportedly send Homegrown defender Justin Che to the Bundesliga’s Hoffenheim and the Colorado Rapids will ship USMNT midfielder Cole Bassett to Eredivisie club Feyenoord. Club America is also expected to bring D.C. United and USMNT winger Paul Arriola back to Liga MX.

Man City Downs Chelsea, Coutinho Scores in Aston Villa Debut

A dazzling strike from Kevin De Bruyne lifted Manchester City over Chelsea yesterday to extend the Cityzens’ Premier League lead to 13 points. A close three-team battle for the Premier League crown is looking less likely.

Philippe Coutinho introduced himself to the Villa Park faithful with a game-tying goal after coming on as a substitute in Aston Villa’s come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Free Kicks

Thanks for visiting, Mane Landers. Enjoy this week’s scenes from preseason camp.



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Inter Miami CF sign Jamaica international defender Damion Lowe

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TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The 28-year-old joins Inter Miami through the 2023 MLS season with a club option for 2024.

“Damion is a capable center back who has proven himself at the international level for Jamaica and we’re happy to welcome him at Inter Miami,” chief soccer officer and sporting director Chris Henderson said in a release. “I’ve known Damion for a long time and I’m sure he’ll welcome this challenge to break into MLS while helping us achieve our objectives. We’re looking forward to continuing to solidify our backline with this signing.”





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