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.