Grant Wahl, perhaps the U.S.’s preeminent soccer writer, has an excellent feature on David Beckham for a Sports Illustrated cover story this week. While we might be sick of Beckham already, Wahl does a good job of capturing the possibilities Beckham brings for MLS’ growth.
Beckham is realistic: “The hype is there at the moment, and the hype will be there for maybe six months,” says Beckham. “But to keep the interest in soccer: That’s going to be the challenge.”
But the article concludes that if he can win over Tom Cruise to soccer, anything is possible.
“I speak to Tom most days of the week, just chatting about work and the kids and Victoria and Katie,” says Beckham, who has three sons, Brooklyn, 8, Romeo, 4, and Cruz, 2. And while Beckham says he won’t be joining Cruise as a Scientologist — “He and Katie have their beliefs, and I totally respect that, but me and Victoria have also got our own” — at least one conversion has taken place. “I think Tom’s getting into soccer,” Beckham says. “He’ll send me a message after every game that I’ve played now, and he’ll say, What an amazing game!” David Beckham is only one man. But if the newest American idol can have the same effect on a few million other Yanks, this New World Adventure might just have a chance.
Though whether a borderline-insane Scientologist becoming a soccer fan is actually good for the game’s image in America is anyone’s guess. . .