Friday, January 12, 2007

Yes, yes there is

Wherein yawn

This might be my favorite comment on David Beckham joining the MSL (third down):
...Is there something seriously wrong with the fact that the soon to be highest earning footballer in the world, by threefold (possibly) on basic wage, won't even be able to make his international team?
Jamie, Derry

The NASL brought in retired, past their prime, international all-stars because U.S. soccer wasn't that great in the 1970s. Thirty years later, the NASL is long gone and the MSL operates as a very respectable 2nd-tier league. The better a U.S. player is the more the conventional wisdom says to ship him off to Europe for some real competition.

So does Beckham joining the MSL mean much? Other than the current media blitz and increased ticket sales for the LA galaxy, I doubt it. He's a fading talent who was never as good as his hype. Beckham is being paid for his celebrityness, not his talent; so what happens when it turns out he's no better than anyone else? Or worse, gets benched?

Maybe I'll be wrong and he'll lead the league in scoring. I doubt it and I doubt he'll make the Galaxy a better team. Let me rescind that last sentence a bit--the Galaxy was next to last in their division and, by points, tied for the third worst team in the league. So it would be hard to get much worse. How about:
  • Beckham won't compete for the scoring title, and
  • LA won't compete for the division title

But will more people watch soccer because of Beckham? Probably, at least initially, and I guess that's a good thing. Until they realize he isn't the second coming of Pele. Or Giorgia Chinaglia. Or even Ace Ntsoelengoe*. Personally, I don't find MLS soccer to be that enjoyable and most of my soccer viewing is spent on EPL games.

**Ace scored my favorite goal of all-time during the 1979 playoffs. Down by a game and a goal, the Kicks are pressing as time is running out. Awarded a corner kick with 15 seconds left, the ball curls towards the net only to be punched out by the keeper. However, the ball arches towards Ace, who--from 30 yards out--power volleys into the upper corner as time expires. Pandemonium. Unfortunately, they lost about 5 minutes into overtime when a direct kick sailed past midgety keeper Tino Lettieri. As I recall, he never moved until the ball hit net. Tino was a nice guy and a decent, if overly acrobatic, keeper, who got beat by a lot of shots he was too short to reach.


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