Of course we won't know for a few years if Beckham inspired a generation of youth to pursue soccer instead of football or basketball, but we do know he drew plenty of attention to a league often dwarfed by the NFL, NBA, MLB and even the NHL. This was Beckham following Saturday's 3-1 championship win over the Houston Dynamo (via The Washington Post):
I just hope I've brought a bit of interest to the game in America. If that's the single thing I've done, then great.
Beckham certainly accomplished what he set out to do nearly six years ago. He's sparked interest in the MLS and has given the league some legitimacy, considering that he was the most recognizable international superstar at the time of his 2007 decision to join the Galaxy.
But he's not done yet.
According to a report by The Associated Press via ESPN, Beckham "will play elsewhere in the new year before eventually returning to MLS as a team owner."
Although it remains to be seen what sort of impact Beckham will have as an owner in America, it's at least sure to maintain the current buzz surrounding the MLS.
Unlike American football and baseball, the beautiful game will continue to keep the rest of the world's attention, and therefore will always have a place in America. Sure, it's not ingrained in our culture the way other sports are, but that doesn't make it unpopular or mean that people aren't playing, watching or supporting it in the States.
This was Beckham discussing his future following L.A.'s victory over Houston (via Daily Mail's James Nye):
It is a special day for us to win it here at our home, in front of our home fans. It is a sad day as well. This is a special place for me and will continue to be a special place. I have no idea where I will go next. I do know that I am happy to have been part of this club for six years and been successful for the last four years. I will continue with my commitment to this league. I might not be playing here anymore, but my commitment to growing this sport and this league will continue.
Clearly Beckham has made it his mission to better the MLS and bring it to the forefront of the American public. He's done well so far, and his two championships in Los Angeles prove his impact as a player.
In the end, you can assess David Beckham's five years in America in two ways. You can look at ratings and profit and say that Beckham failed to make the MLS as successful as the NFL, MLB and NBA.
Or you can agree that Beckham's five-year career in Los Angeles was just the first phase, which just so happened to bring outside interest to the league and the sport in America.
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