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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Friday, July 13, 2007
The Problem with North American Professional Soccer

The big sports (and probably entertainment) news of the moment is the arrival David Poshly Spiced Beckham in the US to play for the Major League Soccer Los Angeles Galaxy.

I have no issue with Beckham coming, it would be good for soccer and it would be good for me -if I cared.

What I do have an issue with is the money they are paying him, a 5-year contract worth about $32.5 million.

The joke about the MLS and Beckham is that it reminds me of the North American Soccer League and the New York Cosmos- remember when Pele, Beckenbauer, and Chinaglia (I love you!) The team seemed to pay and over-pay for every over-the-hill foreign star, the NASL and the Cosmos enjoyed a few brief seasons of fame, and then the fan base realized they didn't like soccer and stopped coming.

The MLS has sort of teetered around for the past 10 years as a minor-league professional sport but it seems to have a core fan base and a stable economical model based on the realization that it occupies the same niche as Arena Football and monster trucks. Nothing wrong with that... history is littered with professional sports leagues which didn't understand the limits of their appeal (think of the Canadian Football League expanding to Alabama.)

Maybe Beckham will be different as the league is a single entity, but the basics are going to be the same. Despite millions of adults who played soccer as a kid, the MLS continues to draw at about the same level as a good AAA minor league baseball team.

Personally I hail the arrival of David Beckham as beginning the process of ending our long national nightmare and finally ridding our great land of the curse of professional soccer.

You want to watch good soccer on TV? Go to Telemundo.... and you can learn some Spanish while you are at it.