Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beckham and the Revs

When the news of one David Beckham signing broke, the national media quite predictably spoke of the possibilities it would have on American soccer. How will Becks’ arrival impact a nation that would rather watch its baseball, football and basketball? Will he be the high-profile star that “legitimizes” American soccer on the international scene, or will trade goals for glitz? The national story is largely one of mass marketing a sport to a population that has largely ignored its otherwise worldwide appeal. Having said that, what kind of impact will his arrival on the West Coats have here in New England?

Surely the ramifications are far greater in sunny SoCal than 3,000 miles away in New England. Although a sizeable media contingent will follow him along every stop on the Galaxy schedule, his real presence will be felt within the bright lights of Sunset Boulevard. Nonetheless, the anticipation of Beckham’s Traveling Circus making a stop at the Gillette Stadium Fairgrounds will certainly pique the interest of area soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike. Those who previously brushed the sport aside in favor of the Red Sox and Patriots may soon entertain the idea of actually attending a Revolution game, even if it is just to admire the beautiful Becks in action. That being said, it’s safe to say that 1.) The date of the LA-Revs tilt will be circled on the calendars of thousands from Portland to Providence and all points in between, 2.) That a large part of the paid attendance will be there to blow kisses and shout its undying love for Mr. Posh Spice, and 3.) That the game itself has the potential to be the most visible soccer event seen in New England since Foxboro hosted World Cup games in 1994.

Speak on the potential that Beckham rides into Foxboro with, and behold a Pandora’s Box of questions. How will these uninformed wannabe socialites and newcomers take to the game itself here? Will the initial draw of celebrity spark an interest in Revolution soccer? Or will the kiss-blowing contingent merely discuss the dreamy midfielder amongst their girlfriends and simply dismiss the game itself? How will the annual Beckham/LA Galaxy sideshow translate with regards to putting additional bodies in the Gillette Stadium surroundings? More so, what will it do in terms of securing a much-coveted soccer specific stadium for the team?

On a player personnel level, the arrival of Beckham also entertains the inevitable question: Who will the Revs acquire to fill their Designated Player Allocation? Now that the Designated Player Allocation has been utilized and effectively publicized on the grandest of scales, the pressure has been officially cranked up on the other MLS franchises to follow suit and use their DPAs as well. Although patience should be practiced when it comes to devoting hefty sums of cash for players abroad, it would clearly be in the best interest for Kraft Soccer to allow itself the time to research and scout before rushing into any potential hasty signing.

The Revolution fan base itself is smart; the collective would be content in waiting for a talented, lesser-known prospect signing rather than an immediate, glamorous acquisition. The club is an already-talented bunch capable of winning. With the side coming off an Eastern Conference Championship, the hunger for the high-profile "player that turns it around" is about as non-existent as the hair on Matt Reis' dome. That being said, there should be no rush in using the DPA immediately or irrationally. It should only be used to compliment the product on the field rather than create fodder for the six o'clock news. Let the others use their DPAs in a reactionary manner to appease their respective fans and local media. Kraft Soccer is in the fortunate position of having an informed fan base that won't berate the front office calling for the immediate signings of Ronaldinho & Co.

No comments: