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Beckham vs Pele

Biggest impact in North America


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Regs

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It's been a bit of a slow start - playing wise - but David Beckham's impact on soccer in North American so far has been huge in terms of awareness.

How does this compare to when Pele came stateside way back in, what was it, 1976?

When all is said and done, who will have changed the way the game is perceived in North America more?

Discuss and don't forget to vote in the poll at the start of this thread!

Cheers,

~Regs.
 

Kevin Hector

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I wasn't old enough to notice Pele playing soccer in the NASL. and Whats happening with Beckham right now is modern day Beatle mania. Pele is the better player but theres something about Beckham that people want to see him play. it's like a circus. so many people I know that play footie say they hate him. but those same people will be going to the game when the Galaxy come to Vancouver. maybe when Pele played over here there where other stars from Europe that there wasn't so much focus on him as there is on Beckham?
 

Dude

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Can't fairly compare.

Talk to a lot of the really, really old TTPers- like Rangerforever and Captain- and they will likely attest that Pele made a pretty big bang himself. I think those guys were 21 when Pele signed with NY.

Everything in this day and age is bigger, due to the Intraweb. More money, more exposure, faster transfer of information, etc. I'm not sure it is fair to compare because it all favors Beckham.

That being said, it is amazing the immediate impact and exposure Becks is having on the domestic game in North America. The question will be this: can it have a lasting, meaningful impact, or will America tire of the show sooner than later?
 

Dapotayto

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The culture of celebrity is so massive in the U.S. that I can imagine his popularity having some staying power, but will it affect football in North America positively? I am less optimistic about that. I believe he and his wife will likely become celebrities more famous for who they are than what they do (Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie anyone?) and that footy may see a small increase in popularity and success but not a large one. Still, any publicity is good publicity and will be helpful for the MLS and North American footy, I suppose.
 

johnnybluenose

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I can't vote...I wasn't alive when Pele landed in North America. What I do know if that the Whitecaps were wildly popular, and Pele and the other superstars that came in those days were the reason.

If Beckham can attract other talent to migrate from Europe to the MLS (Ronaldo, Zidane, etc) who are either on the "downturn" in their career, or if there is a Kaka who has nothing left to win and the MLS expands (healthily) because of it, I would say Beckham, simply because the MLS ownership is much more stable that the old NASL ownerships were as most MLS teams are owned as second, third, or even fourth in the properties of guys like Tom Hicks and Anshutz.

If Pele (who was just a footballer) can impact the "Village of Vancouver" to the point where there are near capacity seel outs at BC Place for Soccer and Beckham is just a famous (rightly or wrongly) footballing-wise, and his wife is a famous pop-star and he is perhaps the worlds largest marketing persoanlity then the sky is the limit for the sport here in North America, but it remains to be seen how they can manage this growth in popularity.
 

girth

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Beckham is a marketing machine! The guy is money in the bank. If he keeps this injury thing going for a while it won't matter people will forget how Average he is on the pitch as his looks and star status are enough.

Pele was the greatest of all time... that is if you watch soccer. In north america most don't really care and let's face it the women don't believe his looks were in Beckhams class according to my wife that is. ( Dude may say different ).

My wife hates soccer and loves Beckham but the whole soccer impact thing for her will never happen.
 

johnnybluenose

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Beckham is far from Average on the pitch. Just because he isn't goin to score 3 goals in a game (Unless Donovan can win 3 fouls on the edge of the opp's 18) or make a step-over-laden Ronaldinho-esque run doesn't make him average.

Real Madrid doesn't win La Liga without him in the lineup down the stretch last season, that is far from average.
 

robj

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Johann Cruyff made a bigger impact then Pele in my opinion in the NASL. Although Pele by far was the best player in the world and to many still is was at the end when he signed with NY. I remember watching Cruyff and was mesmerized. He made other players look very foolish. Stadiums were sold to capacity.

The important things is all three have made an impact on North American soccer.
 

Dude

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Girth: Pele has a good looking fellow, but not as handsome as you.

If I shave my chest and put on a Real Madrid shirt, will Girth's missus know the difference if I stop by to cut the grass? Not sure if Beck's hair is in my league. There's your pole question for tomorrow.

On topic: selfishly, I am hoping that this trend continues so that ZZ does sign over here. Playing wise, he would and could have the impact of a Johann Cruyff. More likely then real football fans would start paying attention to the MLS.

Beckham's game is effective. He's a tireless worker, and great on the flank. This is not even taking into account his proficiency in passing and set pieces. That being said, the star power on the pitch only shows on those free kicks...the rest of his game is too subtle for the average fan to understand his real impact- how just having him on the field changes a teams mindset so far as committing fouls inside 25-30 yards. If the MLS can lever out someone of Zidane's obvious skill set displayed in open play, that could have a longer term meaningful impact in keeping the fans Beckham's start power attracts.
 

Dapotayto

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For me the question is whether or not the marketing of Beckham and perhaps other high-profile players will have a lasting impact on North American football. Pele, Cryuff and others had a massive influence while they played but once the NASL packed up and left town what was left? Did footy thrive? Were talented kids hooked on becoming footballers rather than playing one of the other big North American sports? Did development ramp up? Were other leagues successful? Did the U.S. and Canada enjoy success at international tournaments? I don't see any lasting impact from Pele or Cryuff except for allowing a few people some nostalgic thoughts about the good old days. Only when the U.S. took the bull by the horns, landed the World Cup and formed the MLS with strict financial restrictions did they begin to have more success as a national team and have a healthy league. Now, the MLS is a lot more structurally sound than the NASL was and certainly has more staying power and I think will be a long-term success. But the amount of that success is what is questionable. I just can't bring myself to think that Beckham is going to take this sport to the next level here in NA in a permanent manner. Maybe for me the glass is half-full but I tend to look at precedents that have been set in the past before making predictions about the future.
 

Guinness

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Pele was a amazing player to watch for 90 minutes. He was always brilliant.
Beckham works amazingly hard for 90 minutes. He has moments of brilliance.

Pele came to NA as rescue tactic, someone the New York Cosmos saw as a saviour to their franchise and the NASL saw as the marque player in their league.
Beckham has arrived in NA as a money maker for the LA Galaxy and someone that will ad attention and star power to their line up. The MLS see a massive marketing opportunity with allowing other teams to also scrap the "import" rule and hopefully attract other European stars.

Pele was finished with international football and didn't have great command of the English language. His culture was completely different and he simply did it for the money.
Beckham is getting back into international football and plays for England. He has been a star in Europe for years and simply wants to gain the same star status in "America".

Two very different players, at different times in their careers being compared in completely different era's. I'd say they're really to different to compare. HOWEVER, one thing Beckham will do very well is increase player developement through his camps. Kids in the range of 8-16 will relate and love him, buying his jersey and "pretending" to bend it like Beckham in the playing fields. Pele never had that as "soccer" was just not important to Americans back then. Now that pop culture is what motivates most yanks, the game will definately see an explosion in popularity similar to the reaction of the 94 World Cup.
 

johnnybluenose

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Awesome post Guinness, whole heartedly agree.

How many schools does Bex have in Cali? I know he set one up some time ago, has he since set up more?
 

Sir M

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I saw Pele and Cruyff play back then, and to be fair, Pele was far far past his prime at the time so Cruyff did seem more influential on the pitch in North America. Beckham is not a player the calibre of either of the above, but is much closer to his prime. And as far as an impact goes, (ie popularizing the game) its too early to tell.

Plus we all know that Landon Donovan is better than the whole lot anyway.
 

Regs

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Beckham's first goal in an LA Galaxy uniform took place last night. Pretty special as it was his first start and the first opportunity for one of his patented free kicks:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr_qwkmWukI]YouTube - David Beckham - First Goal for LA Galaxy - Free Kick v's DC[/ame]

Just before that, he went hard into a tackle, receiving a yellow card that I thought could have been a red.

Interestingly, the announcers kept referring to Kevin Harmse as a "hockey enforcer" - funny stuff :rolleyes:

Cheers,

~Regs.
 

Keeper

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Victoria: <yawn>

:D Looks like it's all starting to settle in for Victoria now. What did she get herself into?

You'd think after all these months the announcer could've thought up something a bit better than "Beckham can bend it!" :rolleyes:
 

killieboy

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Comparing Beckham and Pele's impacts is a bit naiive to say the least. In 1976 there was no global media/marketing monster to brainwash people into believing Becks is more than a nice guy and a gid crosser of the baw with a dimwit Doesn't take much to impress the North Americans obviously.
Also, North America was dramatically less exposed to football, sorry soccer, 30 years ago and the awareness was starting from zero.
Pele was, and still is, the best all round footballer to be born and I'm sure even Becks would be embarrassed at any attempts to compare.
 

johnnybluenose

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fair do's killieboy, but Beckham is making people aware of the sport. If he gets the other 50% of the stadium full for games just to see his hairdo and a few of them end up liking what they see, and become footy fans then he has done a job.

BTW: Welcome to TTP, your 4 months late on this thread, It would be class to have another SPL fan on board with a loyalty away from the old firm. ;)
 

charlie

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Very late responce........
If Pele was to play in North America today, he would be by far a bigger impact than Beckham. The same would be said if Beckham played back when Pele played. With this said, only the media has made Beckham bigger than he really is (having a hot wife helps). There is only one king of football......PELE!
 

moneyman

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Beckham or Pele in my opinion Beckham is like the Pet Rock fad. It is all marketing, ask your self is anyone 20 yrs from now going to remember Beckham and compare him to the other great footballers in the year 2008. No way! Beckhams jersey will be sitting in a box beside the pet rock collection that Rangerforever bought at a garage sale. Pele, Maradonna, Zidane legends
Beckham is a underwear model who plays soccer.


$$$MAN
 

badknees7

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Beckham or Pele in my opinion Beckham is like the Pet Rock fad. It is all marketing, ask your self is anyone 20 yrs from now going to remember Beckham and compare him to the other great footballers in the year 2008. No way! Beckhams jersey will be sitting in a box beside the pet rock collection that Rangerforever bought at a garage sale. Pele, Maradonna, Zidane legends
Beckham is a underwear model who plays soccer.


$$

Gotta agree!! Especially with the RF comment,although i thought it might be a toupe collection!!
 

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