(St. Louis – June 2, 2010)
In Europe soccer is king. In America that isn’t quite the case. In an effort to help change that, Major League Soccer brought the former captain of the English national team to play in Los Angeles. The David Beckham experiment did help make soccer a little more popular but it was really the United States performance at the 2006 World Cup that sparked the interest in soccer in the United States.
Looking beyond the ’06 World Cup, bringing Beckham to MLS helped improve the reputation of the American soccer league in Europe. As a result the league will be welcoming another European star next season. French striker Thierry Henry will join the New York Red Bulls and will put a major star on each side of the United States.
This move will be great for MLS. It will help to create a new rivalry between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls. Think about it, Beckham and Henry are both known around the world and are superstars in their own countries. This could add alot of credibility to the MLS.
However, it’s also important to remember that these stars are both starting to age. That may be the only reason the MLS was able to attract these two stars. Most of the really talented young players in Europe wouldn’t give a thought to leaving their clubs to come play in the United States. But maybe with the addition of Henry, the reputation of the American league will improve enough to attract some more stars from Europe.
It may be a long time until we see any real progress made as far as getting more European talent into MLS, but this is a step in the right direction.