MLS Owes Beckham AC Milan Move

Much has been written the past week about David Beckham’s potential move to AC Milan.  My thinking is simple on the issue. MLS owes it to Beckham to allow him to move back to Europe, either on loan, or if he so desires permanently. Beckham has put his international career at great risk to promote the game in this country: he has had to answer to critics back home in England repeatedly about the skill level of Major League Soccer and fend off loudmouth critics on TV and radio here at home who disparage both him and his LA Galaxy team mate Landon Donovan with silly nicknames and songs. The bottom line is this: David Beckham is a class professional who has given two years of his footballing career to grow the popularity of the sport in the United States and to grow the MLS brand worldwide. His selfless action speaks to his personality: now if he really wants to move to AC Milan, he must be allowed to make the move.

The move I would hope is simply a loan deal. But should Beckham feel he needs to play with Milan permanently to stay in the England National Team setup for South Africa 2010, the Galaxy should accommodate him. David Beckham’s presence has grown MLS in the public eye both at home and abroad. Should he really want to leave, it would only fair to grant him his wish.

Landon Donovan appears poised to move to Europe as well. Donovan has been ridiculed by the same critics mentioned above but has responded with his best season as a professional, and by demonstrating a remarkable amount of leadership in his call ups to the United States National Team. Donovan is the best American player ever produced by our youth system. Now at 26, it’s time to see whether he can excel against the top players on the planet.

10 thoughts on “MLS Owes Beckham AC Milan Move”

  1. Aside from half-assing it in 99% of his MLS matches… what has David Beckham done in this country to promote the game?


    Yeah… he’s put some people in the seats… but like a 1/3 less came to see him.

    I’m sorry… Give me 10 Schelotto’s and Angel’s before you give me another player who’s going to half-ass it like Beckham.

  2. I say this with all the love. That’s utter CRAP! They paid him to sell the game to the masses not go on ET and be an underwear model. He showed up and played fine but in America the sports media is on ESPN sportscenter, the Radio, etc. and He’s NEVER there selling the game. They needed him to be Pele. To go to the streets and sell the game. I’ll be happy when he starts doing it. It was never enough to just show up and play. He was supposed to help grow the game long term. He’s showcasing his celebrity to America but not the sport.

  3. I usually like your posts, but this is BS. Beckham got PAID crazy amounts of money by the league and by sponsors to play here for 5 years. He owes 5 years of MLS play. If it’s a loan, fine, he comes back at the end in form and in shape. But if he demands a sale to AC Milan at the end of his loan stint, that would be outrageous.

  4. What complete and utter dross.

    Let’s start with the obvious, Beckham did not give two years of his career to MLS. He has given one complete season and half the previous season he was here, but played in what three games? That is not even one and a half seaons, let alone two.

    Second, Becks has not fulfilled his promise to help grow the game. He has sold jerseys, and he has appeared in a series of ad campaigns for addidas, Sharpie and had his image plastered on billboards in his drawers. But that has not grown the game.

    Becks did not appear on any major sports TV show, no ESPN appearances (despite the contract between ESPN and MLS), not even HBO Real sports, let alone soccer specific channels like Fox Soccer. I will give you that appearing on FSC is probably not going to grow the game, but you have to go out to the sports markets and he hasn’t done it. Appearances on Oprah, Ellen, and the Tonight Show might do well for Beckham’s image, but since he didn’t talk about soccer at all, he did not use his celebrity to “grow the game.”

    I understand his desire to play in the 2010 World Cup and I commend his competitive desire to do so. But I don’t expect him back and if he does come back, the MLS needs to come down on him like a hammer and make him do more soccer specific and soccer related appearences.

  5. If Becks wants to go, and MLS forces him to stay, then we’ve got:
    1. An unhappy player. Sure he gets payed loads of money, but he’s already got that.
    2. International attention on MLS for hurting a players chances of furthering his career by denying him a contract move.

    How is this going to grow the league? If I were a promising young foreign (or domestic) player mulling over my prospects I woule think twice about entering a league that might prevent me from making a move when I needed too.

    Players move in the middle of their contracts. That’s professoinal football. That’s life. Sure I want Becks to stay but forcing him to stay only ensures that nobody gets what they want (need?).

  6. If MLS opposes Beckham’s wishes, that would create immense negative PR.

    Is MLS ready to face that negative PR that would make recruiting of retirement and oldish players more difficult?

    Is MLS ready to face more scrutiny from “Euro snobs”?

  7. Jonathan,
    “Is MLS ready to face that negative PR that would make recruiting of retirement and oldish players more difficult?”

    I believe younger players with promise would also see a blocked Becks deal and think twice before joining MLS.

  8. this risks a valuable investment and provides no help to MLS.

    Nobody in Italy is going to watch MLS because of Beckham. Nobody in England watches Egyptian league because of Zaki. And the American non Soccerfans MLS needs to attract don’t watch Italy because they don’t watch soccer.

    As for negative PR. This move is negative PR. The league looks like a joke for letting it’s player go. Liverpool surely wouldn’t let Gerrard go play in another team’s shirt. The Galaxy look like a joke. I’m convinced this league is run by morons.

  9. Hey Becks “off ya go”. He hasn’t done anything to promote soccer in the US. He couldn’t even be bothered to to go on Fox Football Fone-in once. The only reason he came to the states was to hobnob with stars in hollywood and see if victoria had a future in movies. He cares nothing about the game in this country, and his little trips to visit kids was nothing more than publicity stunts.

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