Would David Beckham's arrival into the MLS change the face of soccer in The United States? That's the question Grant Wahl looks to answer in his new book The Beckham Experiment. Wahl works for Sports Illustrated and has written many cover stories and has now put together his first book. So did The Beckham Experiment work? I think that can be answered as yes and no. Financially David has been good for the MLS, but as a player and for soccer in the US, maybe not so much.
Wahl jumps in from the start and agreement to sign with the LA Galaxy all the way through to his attempt to get out of his contract and move to AC Milan. The book has a lot of insight with interviews from players and former General Manager Alexi Lalas. The most critical interviews come from Lalas and Landon Donovan. The good thing Wahl does is looks at both sides and reports it as he knows. He also has a lot of good insight to how there was such a large discrepency in player salaries and how things were handled financially.
I don't think that David Beckham really appreciates anything about this book as he recently in a press conference and when Wahl asked him a question, his response was to ask if Wahl was planning another unautorized book about him. So for me I took it with an open mind as well since I an a Galaxy Fan and former season ticket holder until I moved to Kansas in 2007. Still I love the team and I really hope that Beckham will deliver this year.
Wahl goes over everything from the original negotiation that came with being captain of the team, to the ousting of Frank Yallop and bringing in his own management team as part of Simon Fuller's 19. All of it didn't go so well as the Galaxy failed to make the playoffs and Ruud was a horrible coach making bad decisions. Now AEG takes control, gets Bruce Arena and things are finally changing.
It's well worth reading just to see all the little things that someone who's used to being treated like royalty has to go through as a common MLS player in a league that owns all the players and controls salaries and all that goes on.
This year, the LA Galaxy are doing well and as Beckham returned he is making an impact right away and fitting right in. Now all he needs to do is ignore the fans and he will be fine.
Personally I don't blame him for wanting to leave the league and go back to Europe in order to play in the 2010 World Cup. The level of play really isn't anywhere near the level of Europe and he needs the experience and time to be competetive. So if he leave this year and doesn't come back, I really wouldn't be surprised.