Sports

Who is the next David Beckham? 0

By Phil Cottrell, Daily Observer

Phil Cottrell

Phil Cottrell

With David Beckham now just a legend who used to play soccer in the U.S., the world football community is left speculating which international superstar will be the next to make the leap to the United States and MLS (Major League Soccer).

Make no mistake, the Beckham experiment was a success for the league, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the player himself. League attendance went from 15,000 per game to over 19,000 per game. The number of teams increased from 14 to 19. Ten new soccer-specific stadiums were built and TV exposure increased. Looking solely at attendance figures since Beckham has arrived, professional soccer has become the third-most attended professional sports league in the United States, trailing only MLB and NFL.

Infinitely more important than the attendance figures and the increasing number of teams participating in the league is the presence of the most well-known soccer player in the world putting American soccer on the map.

While he may be moving on to his next challenge, thanks to David Beckham, American soccer is here to stay. MLS Commissioner Gerber stated emphatically that Beckham delivered in every way.

Thierry Henry and a host of other international names would not be in the U.S. today if there weren't a viable, healthy league in which to play. Beckham's announcement came days after the Football Federation of Australia claimed it was in talks with the 37-year-old's representatives about the possibility of him signing a short-term deal to play in the A-League.

"It would have been great to have him at Perth Glory, but it looks like that won't be happening. "

A move to France now appears one of Beckham's top options, and reports in L'Equipe on Friday claimed that Monaco was confident of announcing a deal.

Who is the next guy? Is it Kaka? American soccer fans sure hope so.

While he has recently affirmed his dedication to stay at Real Madrid, the 30-year-old may not have a choice if he actually wants to get on the field. The best thing for Kaka would be to move to a club where he can get more time. Certainly Los Angeles will be a great fit for him, whenever he decides to come.

There are some other names as well with the most obvious being England superstar Frank Lampard, who is out of contract at the end of the year with Chelsea. Could some of his former teammates be making the trip with him? Will Didier Drogba right the wrong of taking a money-grab in China and come to the U.S. to play?

The standard of MLS

Although a while back, the MLS final between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo was a very good game. After going down a goal in the first half, the Galaxy came storming back in the second half – scoring three goals of its own – on the way to its second-consecutive MLS Cup victory.

It was a good game, with Beckham delivering some beautiful long balls and crosses. Previously in the same day I had watched the EPL (English Premier League) game between Manchester United and Reading. I was struck by the fact that at times the MLS final looked as good as the EPL game. I really couldn’t say that a few years ago.

Toronto FC open tryouts

KIA Toronto FC Academy announced that it will be holding free open tryouts for the 2013 rosters. Although they have currently set the majority of their rosters for the 2013 season, TFC recognizes that there is talent out there that deserves the chance to be seen. So if you think the KIA TFC Academy is for you or your son, sign up now for your open tryout date.

The open tryout runs January 14 through January 18 at the Kia Training Ground in Toronto. Go to the TFC website for more information.

Opening games in 2013

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that they will kick off their third season in Major League Soccer (MLS) on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at home versus Canadian rivals Toronto FC at BC Place.

The Montreal Impact will play its 2013 home opener on Saturday, March 16, against Toronto FC at Olympic Stadium. That game will serve as the first of two matches played at Olympic Stadium to start the season. On opening day, the Impact travels to Seattle to take on the Sounders on March 2. This will be the first time in MLS that the team plays at CenturyLink Field. In 2012, the Sounders led the league in average attendance with 43,144 spectators per game.

A new women’s pro league

U.S. Soccer, with additional funding from the CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) and FMF, Mexico’s football federation, announced the formation of a new women’s professional soccer league Wednesday that will begin play in March of 2013.

The league will have franchises in eight American cities, with U.S. Soccer serving as the front office for the as-yet nameless league. Those franchises, some being reincarnates of the former WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer), will be housed in Seattle, Portland, Boston, Western New York, New Jersey, Kansas City, Chicago and Washington D.C.

U.S. Soccer will fund salaries/ participation for 24 players, CSA up to 16 and FMF at least 12. The new league will be run on a smaller scale with the idea being sustainability.

This is an excellent structure and should ensure a solid footing, and of course provide an opportunity for female soccer players to aim for the highest possible target.

Canada to play the U.S.

Canada’s MNT (Men’s National Team) will play the U.S. in a January friendly.

The Canadian Soccer Association a has announced that it will face the U.S. in a Men’s International Friendly match this Jan. 29, 2013 in Houston, TX. The match extends an upcoming January camp in U.S., with an opening Men’s International Friendly match against Denmark on Jan. 26 in Tucson, AZ.

In 2012, Canada posted a record of four wins, two draws and three losses in nine international matches. Denmark’s record was 2-3-6 while the U.S.’s record was 9-3-2.

On June 3, 2012, Canada and USA played to a 0-0 draw in a Men’s International Friendly match that helped celebrate the Canadian Soccer Association’s 100th anniversary.

Both January matches will help Canada begin its preparations for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup which will take place in July in the U.S. This cup is awarded to the national champion from the Central, Caribbean and North American countries, which encompasses 43 nations in all.

Soccer balls for Christmas

Although too late for this Christmas, instead of the usual gift wrapped, forced joviality and ho-ho-ho nonsense, why not look into the World Vision catalogue? There, for a $30 donation you can have three soccer balls sent to young kids in Africa. You can also make a donation for medicines, mosquito nets and even goats! There are other organizations that are involved in similar ventures too. And of course, it doesn’t have to be just for Christmas.

Be careful what you tweet

The young Spanish, Liverpool youngster Suso was fined for a Twitter comment. The 19-year-old made an ill-judged remark on the social networking platform about teammate Jose Enrique and has been hit with a £10,000 punishment from the English Football Association.

Remember, whatever your sport, to win the game is great, to play the game is greater, but to love the game is the greatest of all. If you have any comments on the beautiful game please contact me at cottrell@nrtco.net, or call 613-587-4856.

And, best wishes for the New Year!

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions and our netiquette rules.


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »