Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fox Sports is reporting that David Beckham will sign with the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS. Beckham is the most famous soccer player in the US, though he is of course nowhere near the best player in the world. The guy can still play, though; he's probably one of the world's top 50 players, and one of the top five free-kick specialists.

This is a good move. MLS needs to improve its quality; right now it doesn't even pay enough to keep American stars at home. Most of those guys are playing in England, Germany, or Holland. Beckham will give the league much-needed star power, and his arrival will encourage other top European players to spend their declining years in the US--if MLS can raise the salaries.

Right now the players belong to the league, not the "clubs," which are actually franchises, and there's a rigid salary structure that prevents anyone from earning more than around $200,000. The league recently passed what has become known as the "Beckham Rule," which would allow each franchise to sign one player without salary limits. I expect they will expand the number of exempt players and raise the salary structure in order to attract better players in the future.

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