English soccer player David Beckham definitely pulled his weight when it came to London being awarded with the current Olympic Summer Games. The 37-year-old midfielder, who now plays with the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS after becoming famous as a member of Manchester United and then Real Madrid, worked tirelessly on the Olympic bid and his efforts paid off.
However, he was slapped in the face for everything he did for the nation by Stuart Pearce, the coach of Britain’s unsuccessful Olympic soccer squad. Pearce was in charge of naming the 18-man roster for the Games and simply ignored Beckham even though he was partly responsible for London’s winning bid and is enjoying an excellent season with Los Angeles.
Millions of British soccer fans were outraged at the decision and Paul McCartney went as far as to publicly call Pearce an idiot. But Beckham, as usual, took it all in stride and handled the situation with typical grace. Beckham claimed that he was happy to be in Los Angeles with his teammates and was just thankful that he and his family were all in good health. He said he was the British Olympic soccer team’s biggest supporter and was happy just to watch the games on TV at home.
Deep down inside though, Beckham must be hugely disappointed when realizing that his dreams of representing his nation once more before retiring were shattered by one man. Beckham also missed out on a major event back in 2010 when it appeared he would be selected for England’s World Cup team for the event in South Africa, but suffered an Achilles injury that sidelined him for several months.
Olympic soccer teams consist of players 23 years of age and under with the exception of three over age members. But instead of taking Beckham, Pearce chose to select forwards Craig Bellamy (Liverpool) and Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) of Wales, along with defender Micah Richards (Manchester City). Nobody really had much of a problem with the 39-year-old Giggs being chosen since he’s the most-decorated player in English Premier League history. In fact, taking Bellamy wasn’t controversial either, but the addition of the 24-year-old year-old Richards caused an uproar since he’s young enough to be selected to several future major soccer tournaments in his career.
For Beckham, this was basically his last kick at the can. And while there are those who say the team should have been selected on merit alone, Beckham definitely fits that bill. The midfielder is still one of the best soccer players in the world when it comes to free kicks, corners, and passing. He also has the leadership and experience the team so desperately needed and would have helped create interest and sell tickets to the tournament.
Britain won two and tied one of their Olympic group games before being eliminated in a penalty shootout by South Korea on Aug. 4. The team lacked leadership, skill, creativity, and passion. These are all tangibles that Beckham possesses in abundance. Beckham said that taking part in the Olympic bidding process and the opening ceremonies were two of the proudest moments of his life. The good news is that he’ll also be participating in the Olympic closing ceremonies when the Games conclude.
During the opening ceremonies Beckham helped take the Olympic torch into the stadium after driving it down the River Thames in a speedboat while wearing one of his best suits. If movie producers are ever looking for somebody to play James Bond in the future, that image showed Beckham should actually be considered. He said he was out on the river in the boat for several hours and he loved it, especially having been born and bred in London.
But what Beckham failed to mention, was that he had flown all the way from Los Angeles to London to help Olympic organizers and then flew back to the U.S. arriving at 1am to take part in the MLS All-Star game in Philadelphia. He then flew back to London after the contest and watched Britain beat the United Arab Emirates 3-1 before playing his part in the opening ceremonies. He never complained once about his hectic schedule and didn’t even think it deserved mention.
Unfortunately, Beckham will miss another Galaxy game while attending the closing ceremonies, but the team is fortunate to have him while the Olympics are taking place. He is one of soccer’s best ambassadors and his presence attracts many players to MLS as well as to the Galaxy. He was on hand last week when LA took on Spain’s Real Madrid in an exhibition game and greeted the visitors personally while attending functions with them.
Other coaches and players notice how accommodating Beckham is and Madrid’s manager Jose Mourinho said he would have loved to have coached Beckham at some time in his career, but it’s unfortunate that it now appears to be too late. He also made a point of saying that he likes Beckham as he’s always been nice to him when the two have crossed paths.
Mourinho added that he couldn’t understand how Beckham was left off of Britain’s Olympic team. He said London was awarded the Games because of Beckham since he was the most recognizable and popular person on the Olympic project. The Portuguese manager went on to say that Beckham has the skills as well as the human qualities to be a benefit to any team he plays on. He called him the consummate professional and said he felt sorry for Beckham.
Beckham has played 115 games for England’s senior national team, a record for an outfield player. However, when he didn’t get the opportunity to play just four games for Britain in the Olympics, it was an insult to one of his nation’s best-ever soccer players as well as the fans.