Image is everything in this case

My colleague Marc Longpre just penned his take on David Beckham’s potenital impact on US soccer in light of his decision to join the...

My colleague Marc Longpre just penned his take on David Beckham’s potenital impact on US soccer in light of his decision to join the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

His views are mostly “spot on,” as the Brits would say, but I can’t help but think that for $250 million, someone somewhere does expect this guy to do more than just fortify an existing fan base and score goals. They expect him to draw new fans.

Why is Beckham being paid that ridiculous sum of money? It's because of his image, not his left foot. The guy is a character. The guy has "Page Six" potential written all over him. And if he doesn't, his "Posh" wife certainly does.

What Beckham brings to Major League Soccer is an endless stream of opportunities to be mentioned in People, Us Weekly, and Vogue, and so on. Perhaps it will only be in the penultimate paragraph, but the words "Major League Soccer" will be in there, which is a hell of a lot more than it can say now.

What the MLS needs is attitude. It needs charisma. It needs demonstrative goal-scoring celebrations. The US - thanks mainly to MLS - had truly developed some world-class soccer talent. But that talent - in the form of Landon Donovan and others - lacks personality. Beckham has enough for the whole league.

A side note that has gone mostly ignored is that as Beckham joins MLS, the American player with perhaps the best combination of skill and style - Clint Dempsey - is leaving MLS to play for Fulham in England's Premier League. That's a big loss.Look. Soccer is a beautiful game, but plays develop too methodically for most American sports fans' taste. The game itself will always struggle to win over fans with too many other more exciting choices. But Beckham is eternally exhilarating. And if he prompts other flamboyant global soccer stars to play on American soil – the name Ronaldo is already being linked to Red Bull New York - he'll be worth every penny in the Galaxy, and then some.

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