David Beckham

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Posted by r2d2 04/02/2009 @ 06:09

Tags : david beckham, soccer players, soccer, sports

News headlines
Beckham reiterates desire to return to AC Milan - The Associated Press
MILAN (AP) — David Beckham wants to return to AC Milan "as soon as possible" after the Major League Soccer season ends in November. The former England captain will return to Los Angeles Galaxy in June, but is expected to rejoin the Italian club in...
Akon to record official World Cup song? - Digital Spy
"If David Beckham said he wanted to contribute musically, I'd advise him not to. He'd definitely be better off playing. It doesn't work when athletes try to become musicians." Il Divo and Toni Braxton's 'The Time Of Our Lives' was the official song of...
The owners of David Beckham's modest childhood home have withdrawn ... - BBC News
They were hoping the "brand Beckham" effect would see the three-bedroom terraced house in, Leytonstone, east London, sell for upwards of £500000. However, the Norman Road property failed to attract any bids above the guide price of £215000 and was...
Beckham vs. Ljungberg won't happen today when Galaxy faces Sounders FC - Seattle Times
The Los Angeles Galaxy are in town to play Sounders FC without its most recognizable star, David Beckham. Los Angeles has struggled to win games this season. By José Miguel Romero This was supposed to be the weekend of European soccer stars,...
Stafordshire footballer to join David Beckham at LA Galaxy - Sunday Mercury
CHRIS BIRCHALL will head off to the States this week as he mulls over a move to join David Beckham's LA Galaxy team. Galaxy manager Bruce Arena is keen to sign the Brighton midfielder on a free transfer. We say: The local lad has great potential and is...
Akon to Produce Theme Songs for 2010 FIFA World Cup - AceShowbiz
Amidst the sketchy details of the project, Akon says he is not interested to hire any football players as singers, stating "If David Beckham said he wanted to contribute musically, I'd advise him not to. He'd definitely be better off playing....
Victoria Beckham Strips For Underwear Ad - Sky News
Husband David Beckham, who has also modelled for Armani underwear, is reported to love the picture of his wife, having it framed and put by his bed. Talking about the look, Victoria commented: "I wanted it to be stronger, a more dramatic look,...
A Sounders game worthy of Dennis Rodman - Seattle Post Intelligencer
By ART THIEL For those whose appreciation of soccer goes only as far as the international celebrity attraction, the match Sunday at Qwest Field was a disappointment because the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy did not have the services of David Beckham....
MLS Gets To Bank It Off Beckham - Forbes
One mystery over the financial details of the deal that let the LA Galaxy's David Beckham extend his loan to Italy's AC Milan has been cleared up. Major League Soccer is getting $10 million out of it. "We asked for $10 million, we got our $10 million,"...

David Beckham

David Beckham signs autographs for fans after the first annual COPA Minnesota benefit game between the LA Galaxy and the Minnesota Thunder.

David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE (born 2 May 1975) is an English footballer who currently plays in midfield for Italian Serie A club A.C. Milan (on loan from American Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy) and the England national team. Beckham's stint with Milan, which began on 7 January 2009, is a loan until the end of the Italian season.

Twice runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year and in 2004 the world's highest-paid footballer, Beckham is the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League matches. He was Google's most searched of all sports topics in both 2003 and 2004. With such global recognition he has become an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon. Beckham was captain of England from 15 November 2000 until the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, during which he played 58 times. Since then he has continued to represent his country and earned his much-publicised hundredth cap for England against France on 26 March 2008. He is currently England's most-capped outfield player with 109 appearances.

Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. During his time there, United won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons , clinching the La Liga championship in his final season with the club.

In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy became effective on 1 July 2007 and gave him the highest player salary in MLS history. He debuted for the team on 21 July in a friendly versus Chelsea at The Home Depot Center, and on 15 August, he had his first start with the team, scoring his first goal in the 2007 SuperLiga semi-final. His first league start then came on 18 August in front of a record crowd at Giants Stadium.

Beckham is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. The couple have three sons and currently reside in Beverly Hills, California.

Beckham was born at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, London, England. He is the son of David Edward Alan "Ted" Beckham (b. Edmonton, London, July–September 1948), a kitchen fitter, and wife (m. London Borough of Hackney, 1969) Sandra Georgina West (b. 1949), a hairdresser. He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford, as a child, and attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford Foundation School. In a 2007 interview, Beckham said that, "At school whenever the teachers asked, 'What do you want to do when you're older?' I'd say, 'I want to be a footballer.' And they'd say, 'No, what do you really want to do, for a job?' But that was the only thing I ever wanted to do." His maternal grandfather is Jewish, although Beckham has referred to himself as "half Jewish" and spoken of the influence the religion has had on him. In his book Both Feet on the Ground, he stated that growing up he always attended church with his parents and his two sisters, Joanne and Lynne. His parents were fanatical Manchester United supporters who would frequently travel to Old Trafford from London to attend the team's home matches. David inherited his parents' love of Manchester United, and his main sporting passion was football. He attended one of Bobby Charlton's football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona, as part of a talent competition. He played for a local youth team called the Ridgeway Rovers – coached by his father, Stuart Underwood and Steve Kirby. Beckham was a Manchester United mascot for a match against West Ham United in 1986. Young Beckham had trials with his local club Leyton Orient, Norwich City and attended Tottenham Hotspur's school of excellence. Tottenham Hotspur was the first club he played for. During a two-year period in which Beckham played for Brimsdown Rovers' youth team, he was named Under-15 Player of the Year in 1990. He also attended Bradenton Preparatory Academy, but signed schoolboy forms at Manchester United on his fourteenth birthday, and subsequently signed a Youth Training Scheme contract on 8 July 1991.

He was part of a group of young players at the club who guided the club to win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992, with Beckham scoring in the second leg of the final against Crystal Palace. He made his first appearance for United's first-team that year, as a substitute in a League Cup match against Brighton & Hove Albion, and signed his first professional contract shortly afterwards. United reached the final of the Youth Cup again the following year, with Beckham playing in their defeat by Leeds United, and he won another medal in 1994 when the club's reserve team won their league.

On 7 December 1994, Beckham made his UEFA Champions League debut, scoring a goal in a 4–0 victory at home to Galatasaray in the final game of the group stage. However, this victory was of little use as they finished third out of four in their group behind Barcelona on goal difference.

He then went to Preston North End on loan for part of the 1994–95 season to get some first team experience. He impressed, scoring two goals in five appearances, notably scoring directly from a corner kick. Beckham returned to Manchester and finally made his Premier League debut for Manchester United on 2 April 1995, in a goalless draw against Leeds United.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a great deal of confidence in the club's young players. Beckham as part of a group of young talents Ferguson brought in to United in the 1990s ("Fergie's Fledglings"), which included Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville. When experienced players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis left the club after the end of the 1994–95 season, his decision to let youth team players replace them instead of buying star players from other clubs, drew a great deal of criticism. The criticism increased when United started the season with a 3–1 defeat at Aston Villa, with Beckham scoring United's only goal of the game; however, United won their next five matches and the young players performed well. Beckham swiftly established himself as United's right-sided midfielder (rather than a right-winger in the style of his predecessor Andrei Kanchelskis) and helped them to win the Premier League title and FA Cup double that season, scoring the winner in the semi-final against Chelsea and also provided the corner that Eric Cantona scored from in the FA Cup Final. Despite playing regularly for Manchester United, Beckham did not break into the England squad before Euro 96.

At the beginning of the 1996–97 season David Beckham was given the number 10 shirt that had most recently been worn by Mark Hughes. On 17 August 1996 (the first day of the Premier League season), Beckham became something of a household name when he scored a spectacular goal in a match against Wimbledon. With United leading 2–0, Beckham noticed that Wimbledon's goalkeeper Neil Sullivan was standing a long way out of his goal, and hit a shot from the halfway line that floated over the goalkeeper and into the net. When Beckham scored his famous goal, he did so in shoes custom-made for Charlie Miller ("MILLER" embroidered on boots), which had been given to Beckham by mistake. During the 1996–97 season, he became an automatic first-choice player at United helping them to retain the Premier League championship, and being voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers.

On 18 May 1997, Eric Cantona retired as a player and left the coveted number 7 shirt free, and with Teddy Sheringham arriving from Tottenham Hotspur, Beckham left his number 10 shirt for Sheringham and picked up the number 7 jersey. Some fans had felt the number 7 shirt should be retired after Cantona had himself retired, but the shirt number remains in use to this day (currently by Cristiano Ronaldo).

United started the 1997–98 season well, but erratic performances in the second half of the season saw United finish second behind Arsenal.

In the 1998–99 season, he was part of the United team that won The Treble—Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, a unique feat in English football. There had been speculation that the criticism that he had received after being sent off in the World Cup would lead to him leaving England, but he decided to stay at Manchester United.

To ensure they would win the Premier League title, United needed to win their final league match of the season, at home to Tottenham Hotspur (with reports suggesting that the opposition would allow themselves to be easily beaten to prevent their deadly local rivals Arsenal from retaining the title), but Tottenham took an early lead in the match. Beckham scored the equaliser and United went on to win the match and the league.

Beckham played centre-midfield in United's FA Cup final win over Newcastle United and for the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, since United's first string centre-midfielders were suspended for the match. United were losing the match 1–0 at the end of normal time, but won the trophy by scoring two goals in injury time. Both of the goals came from corners taken by Beckham. Those crucial assists, coupled with great performances over the rest of the season, led to him finishing runner up to Rivaldo for 1999's European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Despite Beckham's achievements in the 1998–99 season, he was still unpopular among some opposition fans and journalists, and he was criticised after being sent off for a deliberate foul in Manchester United's World Club Championship match against Necaxa. It was suggested in the press that his wife was a bad influence on him, and that it might be in United's interests to sell him, but his manager publicly backed him and he stayed at the club.

The relationship between Ferguson and Beckham began to deteriorate, possibly as a result of Beckham's fame and commitments away from football. In 2000, Beckham was given permission to miss training to look after his son Brooklyn, who had gastroenteritis, but Ferguson was furious when Victoria Beckham was photographed at a London Fashion Week event on the same night, claiming that Beckham would have been able to train if Victoria had looked after Brooklyn that day. He responded by fining Beckham the maximum amount that was permitted (two weeks' wages – then £50,000) and dropping him for a crucial match against United's rivals Leeds United. He later criticised Beckham for this in his autobiography, claiming he had not been "fair to his team mates". Beckham had a good season for his club, though, and helped United to win the Premier League by a record margin.

On 10 April 2002, Beckham was injured during a Champions League match against Deportivo de La Coruña, breaking the second metatarsal bone in his left foot. There was speculation in the British media that the injury might have been caused deliberately, as the player who had injured Beckham was Argentine Aldo Duscher, and England and Argentina were due to meet in that year's World Cup. The injury prevented Beckham from playing for United for the rest of the season and they missed out on the Premier League title to Arsenal, but he signed a three-year contract in May, following months of negotiations with the club, mostly concerning extra payments for his image rights. The income from his new contract, and his many endorsement deals, made him the highest-paid player in the world at the time.

Following an injury early in the 2002–03 season, Beckham was unable to regain his place on the Manchester United team, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær having replaced him on the right side of midfield. His relationship with his manager deteriorated further on 15 February 2003 when, in the changing room following an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, a furious Sir Alex Ferguson kicked a boot that struck Beckham over the eye, causing a cut that required stitches. The incident led to a great deal of transfer speculation involving Beckham, with bookmakers offering odds on whether he or Ferguson would be first to leave the club. Although the team had started the season badly, their results improved greatly from December onwards and they won the league. He was still a first-choice player for England, however, and he was awarded an OBE for services to football on 13 June.

Beckham had made 265 Premier league appearances for United and scored 61 goals. He also made 81 Champions league appearances, scoring 15 goals. Beckham won 6 Premiership titles, 2 FA Cup's, one European Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FA Youth Cup in the space of 12 years.

Manchester United had been keen to sell Beckham to Barcelona but instead he signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid, with the transfer fee being about €35 million (£25m). The transfer was completed on 1 July 2003 and made him the third Englishman to play for the club after Laurie Cunningham and Steve McManaman. Although Beckham had worn the number seven shirt for Manchester United and England, he was unable to wear it at Madrid as it was currently assigned to club captain Raúl. He decided to wear number 23 instead, citing his admiration of basketball player Michael Jordan, who also wore the number 23 shirt, as the reason behind his decision.

Real Madrid finished the season in fourth place, and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage. But, Beckham immediately became a favourite with the Real Madrid supporters, scoring five times in his first 16 matches (including scoring less than 3 minutes into his La Liga debut), but the team, whose club president expected them to win either the Spanish league or the Champions League each season, did not match expectations.

In July 2004, while Beckham was in pre-season training in Spain, an intruder scaled a wall at the Beckhams' home while carrying a can of petrol. Victoria and their children were in the house at the time, but security guards apprehended the man before he reached the house. Beckham made more headlines on 9 October 2004 when he admitted intentionally fouling Ben Thatcher in an England match against Wales in order to get himself booked. Beckham was due to receive a one-match suspension for his next caution, and had picked up an injury, which he knew would keep him out of England's next match, so he deliberately fouled Thatcher in order to serve his suspension in a match that he would have had to miss anyway. The Football Association asked Beckham for an explanation of his actions and he admitted that he had "made a mistake" and apologised. He was sent off shortly afterwards, this time in a league match for Real Madrid against Valencia CF. Having received a yellow card, he was judged to have sarcastically applaud the referee and was given a second yellow card, causing an automatic dismissal, although the suspension was cancelled on appeal two days later. He was sent off for the third time that season on 3 December 2005 in a league match against Getafe. In that season, Beckham led La Liga in number of assists.

Real Madrid finished second to Barcelona in the 2005–06 La Liga, albeit with a large 12 point gap, and only reached the last sixteen in the Champions League after losing to Arsenal by one goal.

During the season, Beckham established football academies in Los Angeles, California and east London and he was named a judge for the 2006 British Book Awards.

In 2007, Real Madrid won their first Spanish La Liga title in three years because of their superior head-to-head record against Barcelona, giving Beckham his first title since he joined Real Madrid.

Initially out of favour with manager Fabio Capello, Beckham started only a few games at the beginning of the season, as the speedier José Antonio Reyes was normally preferred on the right wing. In the first nine matches Beckham started, Real lost seven.

On 10 January 2007, after prolonged contract negotiations, Real Madrid's sporting director Predrag Mijatović announced that Beckham would not remain at Real Madrid after the end of the season. However, he later claimed that he was mistranslated and that he actually said that Beckham's contract had not been renewed yet.

On 11 January 2007 Beckham announced that he had signed a five-year deal to play for Los Angeles Galaxy beginning 1 July 2007. On 13 January 2007 Fabio Capello said that Beckham had played his last game for Real Madrid, although he would continue to train with the team. Capello backtracked on that statement and Beckham rejoined the team for their match against Real Sociedad on 10 February 2007 – he scored and Real Madrid won. In his final UEFA Champions League appearance, Real Madrid were knocked out of the competition (by the away goals rule) on 7 March 2007. Beckham had made a total of 103 appearances in the Champions League, the third highest number of any player at the time.

On 17 June 2007, the last day of the La Liga season, Beckham started in his final match for the club, a 3-1 win over Mallorca, which saw them clinch the title from Barcelona. Although he limped off the field, he was replaced by José Antonio Reyes who scored two goals and the team won the season's La Liga title, their first since Beckham had signed with them. Although both finished level on points, Madrid took the title because of their superior head-to-head record, capping a remarkable six-month turnaround for Beckham.

At the end of the season, Real Madrid announced that they would try to untie David Beckham's transfer to LA Galaxy with him playing with improved form, but were unsuccessful, mainly due to LA Galaxy's refusal to listen.

A month after the conclusion of Beckham's Real career, Forbes magazine reported that he had been the party primarily responsible for the team's huge increase in merchandise sales, a total reported to top US$600 million during Beckham's four years at the club.

It was confirmed on 11 January 2007 that David Beckham would be leaving Real Madrid to join Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. The following day, Beckham's official press conference was held in conjunction with the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.

Beckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy took effect on 11 July, and on 13 July, was officially unveiled as a Galaxy player at The Home Depot Center. Beckham chose to wear number 23. It was announced that Galaxy jersey sales had already reached a record figure of over 250,000 prior to this formal introduction.

On 21 July, Beckham made his Galaxy debut after coming on in the 78th minute in a 1–0 loss to Chelsea during the World Series of Soccer. Two weeks later, Beckham made his league debut as a substitute on 9 August versus D.C. United.

Beckham returned to the pitch the following week, again facing D.C. United, in the SuperLiga semi-final on 15 August. During this game he had many firsts with the Galaxy; his first start, first yellow card and first game as team captain. He also scored his first goal for the team, from a free kick, and also made his first assist, for Landon Donovan in the second half. These goals gave the team a 2–0 victory, and a place in the North American SuperLiga final versus CF Pachuca on 29 August.

During the SuperLiga final against Pachuca, Beckham injured his right knee, with an MRI scan revealing that he had sprained his medial collateral ligament and would be out for six weeks. He returned to play in the final home match of the season. The Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention on 21 October, in the final MLS match of the season, a 1–0 loss to the Chicago Fire. Beckham played as a substitute in the match, bringing his season-totals to; eight matches played (5 league), one goal scored (0 league), and three assists (2 league).

Beckham trained with Arsenal from 4 January 2008 for three weeks, until he returned to the Galaxy for pre-season training.

Beckham scored his first league goal with the Galaxy on 3 April against the San Jose Earthquakes in the ninth minute. On 24 May 2008, the Galaxy defeated the Kansas City Wizards 3–1, giving the Galaxy their first winning record in two years and moving the club into first place in the Western Conference. In the match Beckham scored an empty-net goal from 70 yards out. The goal marked the second time in Beckham's career that he had scored from his own half, the other being a 1996 goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. Overall, however, the Galaxy had a disappointing year, failing to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.

In 2008, Beckham's success in the England national team under Fabio Capello led to speculation that he may return to Europe in order to retain match fitness for the World Cup qualifying matches in 2009. On 30 October 2008, Milan announced that Beckham was to join them on loan from 7 January 2009. Despite this and other speculation, Beckham made it clear that the move in no way signaled his intent to leave MLS and announced his intent to return to the Galaxy in time for the start of the 2009 season in March. Many at Milan both within and outwith the club expressed serious reservations about the transfer, with it considered by some players no more than a marketing move. At Milan, he chose the number 32 shirt previously worn by Christian Vieri, as both the number 7 and 23 shirts were already used by other players. After his physical, Beckham was told by a club doctor that he believed he can continue playing football for another five years, when he will be 38.

Beckham made his Serie A debut for Milan against Roma on 11 January 2009, and played 89 minutes of the 2–2 draw. He scored his first goal in Serie A for Milan in a 4–1 victory over Bologna on 25 January, his third appearance for the club. Though Beckham was expected to return to L.A. in March, after impressing at the Italian club, scoring two goals in his first four matches and assisting on several more, rumors began to swirl that Beckham would stay in Milan, with the Italian club reportedly offering to pay a multi-million dollar fee for the English legend. The rumours were confirmed on 4 February, when Beckham stated that he was seeking a permanent transfer to Milan, in a bid to sustain his England career through the 2010 World Cup. However, Milan failed to match Galaxy's valuation of Beckham, in the $10-15 million range.

However, negotiations continued during a month of speculation. On 2 March, the Los Angeles Times reported that Beckham's loan had been extended through mid-July. This was later confirmed by Beckham, revealing what was described as a unique "timeshare" deal, in which Beckham would play with L.A. from mid-July till the end of the 2009 MLS season.

Beckham made his first appearance for the England national football team on 1 September 1996, in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova.

Beckham had played in all of England's qualifying matches for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and was part of the England squad at the World Cup finals in France, but the team's manager Glenn Hoddle publicly accused him of not concentrating on the tournament, and he did not start in either of England's first two matches. He was picked for their third match against Colombia and scored from a long-range free kick in a 2–0 victory, which was his first goal for England.

In the second round (last 16) of that competition, he received a red card in England's match against Argentina. Beckham, after having been fouled by Diego Simeone, kicked Simeone whilst lying on the floor, striking him on the calf. Simeone later admitted to trying to get Beckham sent off by over-reacting to the kick and then, along with other members of his team, urging the referee to send Beckham off. The match finished in a draw and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout. Many supporters and journalists blamed him for England's elimination and he became the target of criticism and abuse, including the hanging of an effigy outside a London pub, and the Daily Mirror printing a dartboard with a picture of him centred on the bullseye. Beckham also received death threats after the World Cup.

The abuse that Beckham was receiving from English supporters peaked during England's 3–2 defeat by Portugal in Euro 2000, a match where Beckham set up two goals, when a group of England supporters taunted him throughout the match. Beckham responded with a one-fingered gesture and, while the gesture attracted some criticism, many of the newspapers that had previously encouraged his vilification asked their readers to stop abusing him.

On 15 November 2000, following Kevin Keegan's resignation as England manager in October, Beckham was promoted to team captain by the caretaker manager Peter Taylor, and then kept the role under new manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. He helped England to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals, with their performances including an impressive 5–1 victory over Germany in Munich. The final step in Beckham's conversion from villain to hero happened in England's 2–2 draw against Greece on 6 October 2001. England needed to win or draw the match in order to qualify outright for the World Cup, but were losing 2–1 with little time remaining. When Teddy Sheringham was fouled eight yards (7 m) outside the Greek penalty area, England were awarded a free-kick and Beckham ensured England's qualification with a curling strike of the kind that had become his trademark. Shortly afterwards, he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001. He once again finished runner-up, to Luís Figo of Portugal, for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

He was partially fit by the time of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and played in the first match against Sweden. Beckham scored the winning goal of the match against Argentina with a penalty, causing Argentina to fail to qualify for the knockout stage. England were knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Brazil. The following month, at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Beckham escorted Kirsty Howard as she presented the Jubilee Baton to the Queen.

Beckham played in all of England's matches at Euro 2004, but the tournament was a disappointment for him. He had a penalty saved in England's 2–1 defeat to France and missed another in a penalty shootout in the quarter final against Portugal. England lost the shootout and went out of the competition.

Beckham became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in January 2005 and was involved in promoting London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. In October 2005, Beckham's sending off against Austria made him the first ever England captain to be sent off and the first (and only) player to be sent off twice while playing for England. He captained England for the 50th time in a friendly international against Argentina the following month.

In England's opening game at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, against Paraguay on 10 June 2006, Beckham's free kick led to an own-goal by Carlos Gamarra, and England won 1–0. In England's next match, played against Trinidad and Tobago on 15 June 2006, Beckham's cross in the 83rd minute led to Peter Crouch's goal, which put England into the lead 1–0. Beckham gave another assist to Steven Gerrard. In the end they won 2–0. He was named Man-of-the-Match by tournament sponsor Budweiser for this game.

During England's second round match against Ecuador, Beckham scored from a free kick in the 59th minute, becoming the first ever English player to score in three World Cups, and giving England a 1–0 victory and a place in the quarter-finals. He was sick before the game and vomited several times as a result of dehydration and illness after he scored the winning goal.

In the quarter-final against Portugal, Beckham was substituted following an injury shortly after half time and the England team went on to lose the match on penalties (3-1), the score having been 0–0 after extra time. After his substitution, Beckham was visibly shaken and emotional for not being able to play, being in tears at one point.

A day after England were knocked out of the World Cup, an emotional Beckham made a statement in a news conference saying that he had stepped down as England captain, saying, "It has been an honour and privilege to captain my country but, having been captain for 58 of my 95 games, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under Steve McClaren". (Beckham had actually won 94 caps up to that point.) He was succeeded by Chelsea captain John Terry.

Having stepped down as captain after the World Cup, Beckham was dropped completely from the England national team selected by new coach Steve McClaren on 11 August 2006. McClaren claimed that he was "looking to go in a different direction" with the team, and that Beckham "wasn't included within that". McClaren said Beckham could be recalled in future. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kieran Richardson and the World Cup alternative to Beckham, Aaron Lennon, were all included, although McClaren eventually opted to employ Steven Gerrard in that role.

On 26 May 2007, Steve McClaren announced that Beckham would be recalled to the England squad for the first time since stepping down as their captain. Beckham started against Brazil in England's first match at the new Wembley Stadium and put in a positive performance. In the second half he set up England's goal converted by captain John Terry. It looked as though England would claim victory over Brazil, but newcomer Diego equalised in the dying seconds. In England's next match, a Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia, Beckham sent two trademark assists for Michael Owen and Peter Crouch, helping England to prevail 3-0.

Beckham had assisted in three of England's four total goals in those two games, and he stated his desire to continue to play for England after his move to the MLS.

On 22 August 2007, Beckham played in a friendly for England against Germany, becoming the first ever to play for England while with a non-European club team. On 21 November 2007, Beckham earned his 99th cap against Croatia, setting up a goal for Peter Crouch to tie the game at 2–2. Following the 2–3 loss, England failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 Finals. Despite this, Beckham said that he has no plans to retire from international football and wanted to continue playing for the national team. After being passed over by new England coach and Beckham's former manager at Real Madrid, Fabio Capello, for a friendly against Switzerland which would have given him his hundredth cap, Beckham admitted that he was not in shape at the time, as he had not played a competitive match in three months..

On 20 March 2008, Beckham was recalled to the England squad by Capello for the friendly against France in Paris on 26 March. Beckham became only the fifth Englishman to win 100 caps. Capello had hinted on 25 March 2008 that Beckham had a long term future in his side ahead of crucial qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. On 11 May 2008, Capello included an in-form Beckham in his 31 man England squad to face the USA at Wembley Stadium on 28 May before the away fixture with Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June. Beckham was honored before the match by receiving an honorary gold cap representing his 100th cap from Sir Bobby Charlton, and was given a standing ovation from the crowd. He played well and assisted John Terry on the match-winning goal. When substituted at half-time for David Bentley, the pro-Beckham crowd booed the decision.. In a surprise move, Capello handed Beckham the captaincy for England's friendly against Trinidad & Tobago on 1 June 2008. The match was the first time since the 2006 World Cup that Beckham had skippered England and marked a dramatic turnaround for Beckham. In two years, he had gone from being dropped completely from the England squad to being reinstated (though temporarily) as England captain.

During the 2010 World Cup Qualifier against Belarus in which England won 3-1 in Minsk, Beckham came off the bench in the 87th minute to earn his 107th cap making him England's 3rd highest capped player in history over-taking Sir Bobby Charlton in the process. On 11 February 2009, Beckham drew level with Bobby Moore's record of 108 caps for an English outfield player, coming on as a substitute for Stewart Downing in a friendly match against Spain. On 28 March 2009, Beckham surpassed Moore to hold the record outright when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Slovakia, providing the assist for a goal from Wayne Rooney in the process.

Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that he "practised with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn't care about." He maintained his training routine at Real Madrid and even when his relationship with management was strained in early 2007, Ramon Calderon and Fabio Capello praised Beckham for maintaining his professionalism and commitment to the club.

Beckham was the first England player ever to collect two red cards and the first England captain to be sent off. Beckham's most notorious red card was during the 1998 FIFA World Cup: after Argentina's Diego Simeone had fouled him, Beckham lashed out with his leg and the Argentine fell. England went on to lose the game on penalties, and Beckham was listed as a public enemy.

For Real Madrid he amassed 41 yellow cards and four red cards.

Beckham helped to keep Wayne Rooney's temper in check on several occasions.

In 1997, Beckham started dating Victoria Adams, after she attended a Manchester United match. She was famously known as "Posh Spice" of the pop music group Spice Girls, one of the world's top pop groups at the time, and his team was also enjoying a great run of success. Therefore, their relationship instantly attracted a great deal of media attention. The couple were dubbed "Posh and Becks" by the media. He proposed to Victoria on 24 January 1998 in a restaurant in Cheshunt, England.

He married Adams at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland on 4 July 1999, and her name changed to Victoria Beckham. The wedding attracted tremendous media coverage. Beckham's teammate Gary Neville was the best man, and the couple's son Brooklyn, then four months old, was the ring bearer. The media were kept away from the ceremony, as the Beckhams had an exclusive deal with OK! Magazine, but newspapers were still able to obtain photographs showing them sitting on golden thrones. 437 staff were employed for the wedding reception, which was estimated to have cost £500,000.

In 1999, the Beckhams purchased their most famous home, unofficially dubbed Beckingham Palace, in Hertfordshire, north of London. It is estimated to be worth £7.5 million. David and Victoria have three sons: Brooklyn Joseph Beckham (born 4 March 1999 in London, England), Romeo James Beckham (born 1 September 2002 in London, England) and Cruz David Beckham (born 20 February 2005 in Madrid, Spain, the name is Spanish for "cross"). Both Brooklyn and Romeo's godfather is Elton John and godmother is Elizabeth Hurley. They have stated that they would like to have more children, especially a daughter.

In April 2007, the family purchased their new Italian villa in Beverly Hills, California, to coincide with Beckham's transfer to the LA Galaxy in July. The mansion, priced at $22 million, is near the homes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and talk-show host Jay Leno, in an exclusive gated community in the hills overlooking the city.

In December 2008, Beckham and his bodyguard were sued by paparazzi photographer Emicles Da Mata, who claimed that he was assaulted by them when attempting to take a picture of Beckham in Beverly Hills. Da Mata is seeking unspecified damages for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Beckham's fame extends beyond the pitch; in much of the world his name is "as instantly recognizable as that of multinational companies like Coca-Cola and IBM." Beckham's relationship and marriage to Victoria, who has been famous in her own right as part of the musical group Spice Girls, contributed to David's celebrity beyond football.

Beckham became known as a fashion plate, and together with Victoria, the couple became lucrative spokespeople sought after by clothing designers, health and fitness specialists, fashion magazines, perfume and cosmetics manufacturers, hair stylists, exercise promoters, and spa and recreation companies. One recent example is a new line of aftershave and fragrances called David Beckham Instinct.

In 2002 Beckham was hailed as the ultimate "metrosexual" by the man who invented the term and has been described as such by scores of other articles since.

In 2007, the Beckhams were reportedly paid $13.7 million to launch this fragrance line in the US. In the world of fashion, David has already appeared on the covers of countless magazines. In 2007, U.S. covers have included the men's magazine Details, and with his wife for the August 2007 issue of W.

According to Google, "David Beckham" was searched for more than any other sports topic on their site in 2003 and 2004.

On 22 July, a huge private welcoming party was held for the couple at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. A-list celebrities attending included Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Oprah Winfrey.

Beckham has many endorsement deals making him one of the most recognizable athletes throughout the world. On 31 December 2008, it was announced that Pepsi Co. was ending its endorsement deal with the player after a 10-year collaboration.

Beckham has supported UNICEF since his days at Manchester United and in January 2005 the England Football Captain became a Goodwill Ambassador with a special focus on UNICEF's Sports for Development program.

On 17 January 2007, Rebecca Johnstone, a 19-year-old cancer patient in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada received a surprise phone call from Beckham. After the conversation, he sent her a Real Madrid Jersey with his signature on it. Rebecca died on 29 January 2007.

Beckham is a spokesman for Malaria No More, a New York-based non-profit launched in 2006. Malaria No More's mission is to end deaths caused by malaria in Africa. Beckham appears in a 2007 Public Service Announcement advertising the need for inexpensive bed nets. The TV spot currently airs in the U.S. on FOX Networks including Fox Soccer Channel, and can also be seen on YouTube.

Since he has joined MLS, he has been a very public advocate in the U.S. for related charities such as MLS W.O.R.K.S. On 17 August 2007, he conducted a youth clinic in New York City's Harlem, along with other current and former MLS players. This was in advance of his first New York City area match the following day against Red Bull New York. That team's Jozy Altidore and Juan Pablo Ángel also were with Beckham, teaching skills to disadvantaged youth to benefit FC Harlem Lions.

Beckham never personally appeared in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, except in archive footage. He and his wife wanted to make cameo appearances but scheduling proved difficult, so the director used lookalikes instead.

Beckham makes a cameo appearance with Zidane and Raúl, in the 2005 film Goal!: The Dream Begins. Lookalike Andy Harmer, who played him in Bend It Like Beckham, also appears here in one party scene as Beckham. Beckham himself appears in the sequel Goal! 2: Living the Dream... in a larger role, when the film's lead character gets transferred to Real Madrid. This time the story centers around the Real Madrid team, and besides Beckham, other real life Real Madrid players also appear on and off the pitch, alongside the fictional characters. Beckham also will appear in Goal! 3, scheduled for release in 2009.

Despite moving to Los Angeles, Beckham has expressed no personal interest in pursuit of acting roles, saying he is too "stiff".

Beckham has captained England 59 times during his tenure as England captain, one of the most in England's history. With his free kick goal against Ecuador in the second round of the 2006 World Cup, Beckham gained membership into two of football's exclusive clubs: he became the only English player — and the 21st player regardless of nationality — to score in three world cups; Real Madrid team-mate Raúl also achieved this feat a few days earlier. It also made him only the fifth player in World Cup history to score twice from a direct free kick; the other four were Pelé, Roberto Rivelino, Teófilo Cubillas and Bernard Genghini (Beckham had previously scored this way against Colombia in the first round of the 1998 World Cup). All three goals were against South American teams (Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador) and from set pieces (the two aforementioned free kicks and a penalty against Argentina).

Beckham has many tattoos on his body, one of which is the name of his wife Victoria, written in Hindi, because Beckham thought it would be "tacky" to have it in English. Another tattoo, written in Hebrew, reads אני לדודי ודודי לי הרעה בשושנים, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, that shepherds among the lilies." This is from the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible, and a popular Jewish paean to fidelity. Beckham has also been ridiculed in the press for looking like a "Hell's Angel biker" and a "football yob" due to his ever-expanding number of tattoos, their design and location. He often wears long sleeved shirts when playing football to cover his tattoos from those who may feel uncomfortable about them due to their beliefs.

Beckham has attributed the many tattoos to his obsessive-compulsive disorder, and claims to be addicted to the pain of the needle.

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David Beckham's Soccer USA

David Beckham's Soccer USA is a football highlights and general discussion show presented by Tim Lovejoy and produced and broadcast in the UK by Five. The show began following David Beckham's move to Los Angeles Galaxy, and Beckham often contributes to the show in the form of Interviews. Each week there is a special guest in the studio, usually a British sports personality, to whom Lovejoy chats about their career and their views on Major League Soccer. A slightly different version of the show hosted by Natalie Pinkham and completely devoid of any content derived from British studio footage is broadcast in the USA on Fox Soccer Channel.

Several regular features aside from MLS highlights are present in every show. One of these features is a "translation" of American commentary, called "How to speak U.S. Commentator". This provides a definition of slang used by commentators which differs from that used in Britain. Viewers are also invited to choose an MLS team to support and email their choice to the show, from which polls are collected, determining the nation's favourite teams.

As of the beginning of September, the show was cut to 30 minutes due to Channel 5 rescheduling their news.

1. At the beginning of each show, Lovejoy introduces himself as a Chelsea and Kansas Wizards fan, after which he says 'Go Wizards'. A silver curving flash then appears across the screen and the presenter moves his hand in the direction of the flash as it moves across the screen. The flash and Lovejoy's hand are almost never co-ordinated, adding a comic element.

2. Many of the guests have referred to Scottish player Paul Dalglish, who plays for Houston Dynamo, which has led Lovejoy to suggest the title of the programme is changed to 'Paul Dalglish's Soccer USA'.

3. Lovejoy sometimes gives an update on one of the MLS clubs, and calls it, for example, 'Houston Update' or 'New England Update'. After he is finished, he then goes on to the 'Dallas update', and talks not about FC Dallas, the MLS team, but the hit TV show Dallas.

4. Lovejoy will often comment on and show a clip of player Logan Pause followed by Tim pretending to have been paused by standing very still for around 5 seconds.

1. The American version is hosted by Natalie Pinkham, who is traditionally out on location at various Major League Soccer related events. The British version is hosted by Tim Lovejoy in a studio.

2. The American version is presented as a serious highlight show, featuring game footage with all English highlight packages narrated by JP Dellacamera. The British version is presented as a lighthearted educational look at Major League Soccer and soccer in the US in general. The British version contains a highlight package featuring the original broadcast commentators, sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish, depending on the source of the original broadcast.

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David Beckham Football

David Beckham Football, also known as David Beckham Soccer in North America is an upcoming video-game rumoured to be developed by Activision alone. The game has been cited for release in November 2008 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii consoles, as well as a Nintendo DS adaption also under the same name.

David Beckham's likeness is officially licenced for the video-game with his current club the LA Galaxy as well as the entire Major League Soccer being in the game including official Adidas kits, Proper club and player names and 4 MLS Stadium's. England, Portugal, Italy, Spain, USA, Ireland, Scotland and The Netherlands national teams have also been confirmed to be featured in the game, all with official names, logos and kits.

Adidas will be promoted throughout the game, with the latest boots and training gear being available to the user as well as Adidas in-game promotions.

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Major League Soccer

MLS Logo.svg

Major League Soccer, or MLS, is the top-flight professional soccer league based in the United States and sanctioned by United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer). The league is comprised of 15 teams, 14 in the U.S. and one in Canada. MLS represents the top tier of the American and Canadian soccer pyramids.

MLS was founded in 1993 as part of the bid for the United States to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996 beginning with 10 teams. Seasons run from late March or early April to November, with teams playing 30 regular season games each. Eight teams from the league compete in the post-season MLS Cup Playoffs, which culminate in MLS Cup.

The 2009 Major League Soccer season runs from March 19 to November. The 15 teams in the league are divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences — seven in the Eastern Conference, eight in the Western Conference. Each team plays 30 games, evenly divided between home and away matches. Each team competes against every other team twice, home and away, for a total of 28 games. The remaining two games are intra-conference matches, often highlighting geographic and conference rivalries.

MLS has four berths in the CONCACAF Champions League. For CONCACAF Champions League 2009–10, qualifying teams include MLS Cup 2008 and Supporters' Shield winner the Columbus Crew, Supporters' Shield runner-up the Houston Dynamo, MLS Cup runner-up the New York Red Bulls, and 2008 U.S. Open Cup winner D.C. United. Columbus and Houston are automatically seeded into the Group Stage, while New York and D.C. are required to play in the Preliminary Round.

MLS also has four berths in SuperLiga, a competition jointly organized by MLS and Mexico's national football governing body, the FMF. The top four overall teams from the 2008 season, excluding those participating in the Champions League, qualify for SuperLiga 2009. This includes the Chicago Fire, the New England Revolution, the Kansas City Wizards, and Chivas USA.

In 1996, Major League Soccer's original ten teams, the Columbus Crew, D.C. United, the New England Revolution, the NY/NJ MetroStars, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, the Colorado Rapids, the Dallas Burn, the Kansas City Wiz, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the San Jose Clash, began play. The early years of the league gave rise to the Bruce Arena-led dynasty of D.C. United, which won MLS Cups in three of the league's first four seasons. It took the expansion Chicago Fire in 1998 to end United's stranglehold on MLS Cup. Also joining the league in 1998 was the Miami Fusion.

After its first season, MLS suffered from a decline in attendance. The league's quality was cast into doubt when the U.S. men's national team, made up largely of MLS players, was eliminated in the first round of the 1998 World Cup and finished in last place.

The league began to market itself on the talents of American players, both experienced veterans and fresh talents. Breakout stars like DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan began making names for themselves in MLS before breaking into and starring for the U.S. national team, while established players such as Brian McBride, Eddie Pope, and Clint Mathis continued to prove their value to both their MLS clubs and the U.S. national team.

The league's ongoing financial problems led to the departure of Commissioner Doug Logan after the end of the 1998 season. Don Garber, a former NFL International chief, was hired in his place and his leadership became instrumental to shoring up the league's future. Construction of "soccer-specific" stadiums for the league's teams, largely funded by financiers such as Lamar Hunt and Phil Anschutz, became a point of emphasis to bring fiscal health and ensure the league's survival. Hunt's Columbus Crew Stadium, built in 1999, is often cited as a league model.

On the field, the early wave of international players who had joined MLS at its inception drifted into retirement or moved on to clubs elsewhere in the world. The run-up to the 2002 World Cup saw a gradual shift in the league's philosophy toward the development of American talent, a move that would eventually lead to success for U.S. Soccer.

Despite this movement, declining attendances forced MLS to stop the bleeding by contracting the two Florida franchises, the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion, just a few years after their establishment. This left the league with 10 teams, the same number as when the league began.

The 2002 World Cup, in which the United States unexpectedly made the quarterfinals through wins against Portugal and Mexico, triggered a resurgence in American soccer and MLS. At MLS Cup 2002, held four months after the 2002 World Cup final, set an attendance record as a sellout crowd at Gillette Stadium saw the Los Angeles Galaxy win their first title.

MLS drew international attention in 2004 with the debut of 14-year-old Freddy Adu for D.C. United, who entered the league with much fanfare and was heralded as one of the top prospects in American soccer history.

MLS underwent a significant transition in the years leading up to the 2006 World Cup. After marketing itself on the talents of American players, the league saw some of its homegrown stars depart for more prominent leagues in Europe. Tim Howard, goalkeeper for the MetroStars, was sold to Manchester United in one of the most lucrative contract deals in league history. DaMarcus Beasley of the Chicago Fire left for PSV, while Landon Donovan, on loan from Bayer Leverkusen, was recalled back to Germany. Donovan's stint in Germany was brief; before the start of the 2005 MLS season he was sold back to MLS to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Many more American players, though they factored little in the U.S. national team picture, did make an impact in MLS. In 2005, Jason Kreis of expansion club Real Salt Lake became the first player to score at least 100 career MLS goals. In 2005, the now defunct MLS Reserve Division was created, with each reserve squad playing 12 games, providing valuable playing time to develop non-starters on team rosters.

It was also in this era that MLS expanded for the first time since the contraction of 2001. Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA began play in 2004, with Chivas USA becoming the second club in Los Angeles, sharing The Home Depot Center with the Galaxy. Chivas USA also became the first team in MLS to be directly connected to a foreign club, as they are the sister club of Guadalajara. A year later the San Jose Earthquakes were moved to Texas, becoming the Houston Dynamo, after funding for a soccer-specific stadium could not be found in San Jose. The Dynamo were treated as an expansion franchise, leaving their history behind for the new ownership group that would materialize a few years after the move, in 2008.

Since 2006, Major League Soccer's leadership has taken steps to "internationalize" the league in an effort to raise the level of play. Among the first moves in this regard was the Designated Player Rule, which helped MLS bring international stars into the league, despite the relatively meager MLS salary cap, and the creation of the SuperLiga, which pits the best of MLS against top Mexican clubs in an effort to provide more meaningful competition for both leagues. MLS changed the rules regarding foreign players in the league to allow more of them. However, despite the increasing number of foreign players in MLS, the Houston Dynamo were able to establish a domestic dynasty, winning both the 2006 and 2007 titles with mostly American and Canadian talent.

The 2006 season confirmed Major League Soccer as a stable entity within both American and international soccer. Bob Bradley, whose reputation was scarred by disappointing results when coaching the MetroStars, turned around second-year Chivas USA, who in their inaugural season had finished last among all teams in the league.

The 2007 season saw the MLS debut of David Beckham, whose signing has been seen as a coup for American soccer. Beckham's signing by the Los Angeles Galaxy was made possible by the Designated Player Rule. Marcelo Gallardo of Paris Saint-Germain transferred to D.C. United, Cuauhtémoc Blanco of Club América signed for the Chicago Fire, and Juan Pablo Ángel, who moved from Aston Villa to the New York Red Bulls, are just some of the Designated Players who have made major contributions to their clubs.

The departures of Clint Dempsey to Fulham and Jozy Altidore to Villarreal, coupled with the return of former U.S. national team stars Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride to New York and Chicago, respectively, highlight the exchange of top prospects to Europe for experienced veterans for MLS. Several other well-known foreign players have followed Beckham and Blanco to MLS, including Guillermo Barros Schelotto to Columbus and Freddie Ljungberg to Seattle.

Toronto FC, who joined the league for the 2007 season, were the league's first entrant from Canada.

In the inaugural SuperLiga 2007, which was the product of the league's marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing, the Los Angeles Galaxy lost on penalty kicks to Pachuca, as the league attempted to translate the traditional rivalry between the U.S. and Mexican national teams to the club level. Though it has only two seasons of existence, the tournament has been declared a success for both leagues. Due to the success of SuperLiga and the expansion of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup into the CONCACAF Champions League it was decided that clubs would no longer be permitted to enter both competitions. This helped solve the problem of fixture congestion during the 2007 and 2008 MLS seasons and gives half the league the opportunity to compete in international competition each season.

Recently "expansion," "contraction," and "rebranding" have become buzzwords for the league and its fans. The league has renewed its emphasis on improving the quality of play by its teams via initiatives such as the Designated Player Rule and the creation of a league-wide youth development system.

MLS operates under a single-entity structure in which teams are centrally controlled by the league. In order to keep costs under control, revenues are shared throughout the league, player contracts are negotiated by the league, and ultimately players are contracted not with individual teams but with the league itself. The league fought a bitter legal battle with its players over its economic system, but this was eventually resolved with the players gaining some improved benefits in return for accepting the single entity structure. A court had also ruled that even absent their collective bargaining agreement, players could opt to play in other leagues if they were unsatisfied.

Commissioner Garber has stated that having multiple clubs owned by a single owner was a necessity in the first 10 years of MLS, but now that the league appears to be on the brink of overall profitability and has significant expansion plans, he wants each club to have a distinct owner. In order to help bring this about, the league is now giving more incentive to be an individual club owner, with all owners now having the rights to a certain number of players they develop through their club's academy system each year, sharing the profits of Soccer United Marketing, and being able to sell individual club jersey sponsorships.

At one time AEG owned six teams in MLS, and have since sold the Colorado Rapids, the MetroStars, D.C. United and the Chicago Fire to new owners. AEG's remaining teams are the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. The other major owner-investor in MLS has been Hunt Sports, which owns the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas, having sold the Kansas City Wizards in to a local ownership group in 2006. The league now has 14 owners for their 16 clubs (including the 2010 Philadelphia club).

The 2006-2007 MLS offseason has been considered by some to be the most productive in the history of the league, and there were a number of changes made to the league, which have brought about an increase in the league's ability to compete financially as well as on the field. The league announced a youth development initiative, which will require youth development programs for all of the league's teams. The hope is that by being able to sign up to two of its own youth players to the senior team each year that the league's teams will have an incentive to improve the quality of the league's talent in an organic way that will also benefit the league through transfer fees for outgoing players. Perhaps the first example of a success in "home-grown" talent development was New York's Jozy Altidore, who rose to prominence as one of the league's most skilled young strikers before fetching the league's record transfer fee in his move to Villarreal in 2008.

Furthering the development of the league was the decision to create the Designated Player Rule, which allows for clubs to pay up to two players a salary beyond that covered in the salary cap at their own expense. A host of veteran players including Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Juan Pablo Ángel, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and David Beckham joined MLS and improved the league's level of play and the game's overall profile in the U.S. and the league's profile abroad.

The league also announced "Game First", a series of initiatives aimed at improving the league in several ways. One of the most immediate changes is that U.S. Soccer hired the first full-time professional referees in league history. Another part of "Game First" was the creation of an official league anthem similar to other competitions from around the world. There are two versions of the MLS Anthem, an orchestral version that is performed before every regular season game and an orchestral chorus version with a chorus that is played before the MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup.

Since 1999, the league has overseen the construction and completion of seven venues specifically designed for soccer. Lamar Hunt broke new ground in this endeavor by financing the construction of Columbus Crew Stadium. The Los Angeles Galaxy followed four years later with the opening of The Home Depot Center in 2003. Chivas USA has shared this venue with the Galaxy since their expansion season in 2004. It also played host to two consecutive MLS Cups, until FC Dallas opened Pizza Hut Park in 2005 and hosted the next two championships. The Chicago Fire began playing their home games in Toyota Park in 2006. 2007 saw the opening of Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the Colorado Rapids and BMO Field for the expansion Toronto FC. Near the end of the 2008 season, Rio Tinto Stadium became the new home of Real Salt Lake.

Other stadiums are currently under construction. Red Bull Arena, the new home of Red Bull New York, began construction in December 2007 with the goal of beginning play there at some point in 2009. D.C. United, the Kansas City Wizards, the Houston Dynamo, the New England Revolution, and the San Jose Earthquakes are actively searching for ways to finance and build their respective stadiums.

Seattle Sounders FC play at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, and the owners have pledged that only the lower portion of the stadium will be used in order to create a better atmosphere for soccer. The Philadelphia team plans to play in the new Chester Stadium when they enter the league in 2010. In 2011 the Portland Timbers will begin play in a newly-renovated PGE Park, a multisport stadium that will be converted into a soccer-specific stadium before the Timbers begin play. Also starting in 2011, the Vancouver team will begin play in a refurbished BC Place, and they will remain there until at least 2016, by which time the team hopes to complete construction on a planned soccer-specific stadium.

The move to soccer-specific stadiums has been seen by many as essential to building up attendance and fan support for MLS. So far, every club that has built its own stadium has not only seen its game attendance rise, but also has helped MLS achieve profitability. Thanks to their new stadium, the Los Angeles Galaxy became the first club to make a profit, followed in 2006 by FC Dallas.

At the outset, MLS signed deals for coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, while Univision, Galavision, and Telemundo broadcasted matches in Spanish. The original Univision deal lapsed after a few years, leaving only the ABC/ESPN family of networks as the league's national broadcasters. Fox Sports World (later rebranded as Fox Soccer Channel in 2005), Fox Sports en Español and HDNet began airing matches in 2003. The 2007 MLS season was the first season, however, for which television rights were sold to networks at a profit. Previously, MLS paid networks to broadcast its games. It is estimated MLS will receive about $30 million from TV revenue alone within the next eight years.

With the addition of Toronto FC, coverage of MLS expanded into Canada in 2007. The CBC, The Score and Rogers Sportsnet all broadcast Toronto matches nationwide.

The league's MLS Direct Kick package, which broadcasts out-of-market matches, has been expanded to ensure that every league match is broadcast. Univision and its family of networks resumed MLS broadcasts in 2007 as well, with most matches airing on TeleFutura and Galavision on Sunday afternoons and evenings.

The 2007 season was the first in the league's history in which every regular season match was telecast live, and many games were shown on national television. MLS Primetime Thursday on ESPN networks featured a live match for the first time on Thursdays each week, and Fox Soccer Channel's MLS Saturday expanded to a 3-hour format, with both a pregame and postgame show wrapped around the featured match each week. Additionally, Fox Soccer Channel produces their own news on MLS and special original programs on players, such as Beckham Unwrapped, a biographical update for summer 2007 on the Galaxy's David Beckham.

Major League Soccer also offers streaming live video of some matches via its website.

Sports Business Journal reported on December 23, 2008 that MLS and Soccer United Marketing had signed an international television broadcast contract with sports media company MP & Silva through 2013. The figure is reportedly an "eight-figure deal" that covers the "rights to all MLS games, tournaments and events, including MLS regular season, MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Cup, and the international competitions SuperLiga, InterLiga, and Pan-Pacific Championship." InterLiga is the only non-MLS competition included in the deal. MP & Silva CEO Carlo Pozzali acknowledged that high profile, international players who were lured to MLS by the designated player rule have raised the international awareness and potential for popularity of MLS in international markets.

Major League Soccer has lost more than $350 million since its founding, according to a report by BusinessWeek in 2004. However, there are positive signs for profitability in the near future. As soccer-specific stadiums are built, ownership expands and television coverage increases, MLS has managed to see their revenues increase while costs are kept to a minimum. The 2003 season saw the Los Angeles Galaxy make a profit in their first season at The Home Depot Center, while FC Dallas turned a profit in similar fashion after moving into Pizza Hut Park in 2005.

Television coverage has consistently expanded throughout the league's history, as MLS brokered a deal with ESPN in 2006 for rights fees and a greater presence across its networks. The 2007 season saw the return of MLS to Univision and its Spanish-language networks. They joined Fox Soccer Channel and HDNet as the U.S. national outlets, and the league has mandated that every league game receive television coverage either nationally or locally in one or both teams' cities for broadcast on its Direct Kick package.

In 2007, MLS teams started selling ad space on the front of jerseys to go along with the league-wide sponsorship partners who had already been advertising on the back of club jerseys, following the practice of international sport, specifically soccer. The league has established a floor of $500,000 per shirt sponsorship, with the league receiving a flat fee of $200,000 per deal. Online gambling and hard liquor sponsorships are prohibited. As of January 2009, eleven of the league's fifteen teams have signed sponsorship deals to have company logos placed on the front of their team jerseys.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said on May 11, 2006 that he expects the league's clubs to be profitable by 2010 overall. He reported that FC Dallas and the L.A. Galaxy are already profitable, with several other clubs nearing profitability. A year later, he revealed that the Chicago Fire, the Colorado Rapids, and Toronto FC were on track for profitability by 2008.. However in 2008 there were only three profitable MLS franchises; LA Galaxy, Toronto FC and FC Dallas .

MLS experimented with deviations from IFAB rules and standards in its early years, some of which had been used in the NASL and continue to be used in college soccer and many high school associations.

Among them was the use of a countdown clock, rather than a standard progressive clock, with time paused for dead ball situations at a referee's discretion. Halves ended when the clock reached 0:00, rather than at the whistle of the referee as was customary elsewhere.

Also implemented was the use of shootouts to resolve tie games. These best-of-five contests placed a player 35 yards from goal with five seconds to put the ball past the opposing goalkeeper; if needed the shootout progressed into extra frames. A winning team received one standings point (as opposed to three for the regulation win).

While IFAB rules allow teams to substitute three players during games, MLS allowed a fourth, goalkeeper-only substitute. MLS discarded the rule after 2003 and adopted the IFAB standard, prompted in part by a match in which then MetroStars coach and current U.S. national team manager Bob Bradley used a loophole to insert an outfield player as a fourth substitute.

MLS eventually conceded that the rules changes, particularly the shootout, had alienated some traditional soccer fans while failing to draw new American sports fans as hoped. The shootout and countdown clock were eliminated after the 1999 season.

MLS continued to experiment with the settling of tie games in regular season play. In 2000, a 10-minute golden goal period replaced the shootout for tied games. It was abandoned after 2003. The golden-goal overtime remained through 2004 for playoff matches, where it had been used since the league's inception.

In 2005 the league adopted a playoff extra time structure that followed new IFAB standards for such situations: two full 15-minute periods, followed by penalty kicks if necessary. The away goals rule is not used in any playoff round.

There are 15 MLS teams divided between the Eastern and Western Conferences. Each club is allowed 24 players on their full roster.

Before its maiden season and inaugural draft, MLS allocated four marquee players across the initial ten teams. These inaugural allocations consisted of key U.S. national team and international players such as Eric Wynalda and Hugo Sánchez.

The league added its first two expansion teams for the 1998 season: Miami Fusion and Chicago Fire. However, following the 2001 season, Miami and the Tampa Bay Mutiny were disbanded and MLS returned to ten teams. Since the 2004 season, the league has expanded with six new clubs: Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA in 2005, the Houston Dynamo in 2006, and Toronto FC in 2007. After relocating as an expansion team to Houston in 2006, the San Jose Earthquakes returned from hiatus in 2008. Seattle Sounders FC joined MLS for the 2009 season.

As of 2009, MLS has had seventeen different clubs over the years, but only seven have won the MLS Cup.

MLS will expand to 16 teams in 2010, will expand to 18 teams in 2011, and plans to expand to 20 teams in 2012. A Philadelphia club is in place for 2010 with Vancouver and Portland joining the following season, and two yet to be determined franchises would begin play a year after that. The Philadelphia club will play in a 20,000-seat stadium to be built just west of the Commodore Barry Bridge in Chester, Pennsylvania. No name for the team has been announced.

On March 18, 2009 a press conference announced that a new MLS team in Vancouver will replace the existing USL-1 club in that city, and that it would keep some form of the "Whitecaps" name. Vancouver will join the league in 2011. For at least its first season the Vancouver MLS club will play in BC Place stadium, which by then will have been renovated to include a soccer-specific configuration. However, the Vancouver ownership group is still hopeful that a new, completely soccer specific stadium will be approved for construction on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver.

On March 20, 2009 a press conference announced that a new MLS team in Portland will replace the existing USL-1 club in that city, and would keep the Portland Timbers name. Portland will join the league in 2011.

Originally, in the style of other U.S. sports, teams were given nicknames at their creation such as the Columbus Crew, San Jose Clash, or Tampa Bay Mutiny. D.C. United and Miami Fusion F.C. were the two exceptions that adopted more traditional names. However, new teams such as Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC have adopted names similar to European clubs, and FC Dallas changed its name from the Dallas Burn. Some of club names have their origins in defunct American professional soccer leagues like the NASL, such as the original San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders.

Chivas USA is the only MLS team whose name does not specify a specific city, state or region. The club is named after the Mexican side Guadalajara, who are often known by their nickname "Chivas," which translates to "Goats". The Mexican club (based in Guadalajara, Mexico) and Chivas USA share the same ownership. Though Real Salt Lake was not originally affiliated with Real Madrid, in 2006 the two clubs signed an agreement to play friendly matches every two years, and to co-sponsor a soccer academy and training facility in Utah. The beverage company Red Bull owns Red Bull New York, the Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg, and the lower-level Brazilian club Red Bull Brasil.

There are 10 awards given out by the Major League Soccer each year.

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Source : Wikipedia