All the soccer fans have probably heard by now that David Beckham is leaving the LA Galaxies to go play for AC Milan. Who cares, good bye. But what makes this somewhat of a sad story is that the MLS, the media and pretty much everyone who has no idea about who really runs soccer in America had hailed Beckham as the opportunity to bring the World’s sport, the “beautiful game” to America for good. This was the legitimization of soccer in America.
They were wrong because soccer in America is not about soccer and probably never will be. Having hung out on a soccer touchline for more years than I can remember, it is about two things:
– Power and ego for the adults running the sport
– Getting a college scholarship
I try not to be a cynic, I really do. But, every now and again, stuff happens that reaffirms my beliefs. Today, a team sent a tournament the following email:
Although I have registered our team in your tournament, we will not be able to compete in the tournament. I haven’t sent in the payment. But, I wanted to make sure you knew that we need to withdraw from the tournament. Our Coach is not available to travel with us that weekend due to a scheduling conflict with his [über-competitive league] team. Please let me know if I need to submit any additional information in order to withdraw.
As a parent, what I hear from the coach is this:
I demand unquestioning allegiance from your kid to me, but I will not give it back to you. I don’t care about anything that won’t get me fame and stroke my ego. Coaching your kid’s “B-team” at a tournament you really wanted to go to won’t get me that, so is just not as important to me. I am only using your kid to fund my “Über A-team” anyway. It is all about ME, ME, ME!!! (visual of cape flapping in the wind, barrel-chested stance.)
And this is why soccer in America is failing and will fail. The adults are not about the game; they are about themselves.
Probably why Beckham is leaving. It only took him 17 months to figure it out, but once he did, he probably wanted no part of that game. To leave LA celebrity to play in Italy is one huge vat of desperate “get me the hell outa here, mate!”