Go ahead, debate it. You know in the last day or so you’ve though about the impact of David Beckham vs the impact of Thierry Henry to Major League Soccer. Both have their pluses and minuses but each in my mind do the same thing, make the league that much better with them in it.
I’ve seen a lot of banter over the last couple days about each guy and what they’ve done or will do for the sport here in America and for MLS in general.
One guy is all about marketing himself while the other markets himself in a different manner that doesn’t annoy most folks. Each will help sell tickets and bring in crowds. Each also will continue to help drive other big name stars to the league. Each came to big markets looking to play but each also come with different meanings.
Beckham for instance came over a couple years ago because it was time for him and his group to put his brand in America for real. Sure there was some soccer involved but it was more about moving his family to the States so his wife could be on TMZ more and for his kids to have a “normal life” of sorts.
But Beckham came over with injuries and then desire to play for England in the World Cup which meant him leaving for half of the season last year to play for AC Milan. Henry on the other hand is coming here retired from international soccer, so when a big game comes up for France he won’t be leaving New York to play in it.
Beckham’s legacy here for MLS is always going to go down differently though. Without him there probably would be no Henry or at least Henry wouldn’t have come over here this soon in his career.
At the end of the day the league is better with both of them in it, even if Beckham won’t necessarily be in it for this season. But for the league to really expand its footprint, well, I still believe those two aren’t enough to do so. They help out in a big way but getting talent from within (young American talent that is, think 10-20 Landon Donovans) at the end of the day will help. But that’s another discussion for another day.