By Darayus Sethna, Host of “The Cleveland Sports Show” Podcast and Aspiring NBA Journalist
October 6th, 2001 will always be considered a historic day in English soccer. On that day, the England National Team was facing off against Greece. In order to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, the English needed either a draw or win; and until the 93rd minute, it seemed that neither would be a result for the “Three Lions”. This is when 28 year old star David Beckham decided to take matters into his own hands. Down 2 goals to 1 at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, in front of 76,000 nervous fans, Bekham was set to take a free kick within striking distance of the Greek goal, and you probably know what happens next.
David Beckham was born on May 2nd, 1975 in Leytonstone, a suburban area located just outside of London, England. At an early age, he displayed a great deal of promise with his soccer skills. When he was 11 years old, he won the Bobby Charlton Soccer Schools National Skills Competition, which helped lead to even more success for the young Englishman. His talent was seen by team officials of the Manchester United club, and by the age of 16, Beckham would leave Leytonstone to play for the team’s training division. After two years in the division, he received a spot on the official Manchester United roster. By 1995, Beckham would be in the team’s starting lineup.
Beckham was a talent unlike any other for his generation, and he proved this in his first few years as a professional athlete. He would be awarded the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year in 1997, and also secured an equivalent of 13 million dollars in endorsement deals the following year, with Adidas being one of them. After over a decade of professional soccer in Europe, Beckham would finally have a chance to play overseas. He made the voyage across the Atlantic in 2007, and signed a five year, 250 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy. If you thought Beckham wouldn’t be a popular sports figure in the United States, think again! Just within 48 hours of the signing, the Galaxy sold over 5,000 season tickets!
Although his first season in Los Angeles was a difficult one due to a knee injury, the English superstar would eventually make his mark with the franchise. He would make over 300 appearances for the Galaxy, and finish his career in Southern California with 70 goals. Beckham would retire on May 16th, 2013 at the age of 38. After an astounding, memorable 21 year soccer career, Beckham would exclaim just how wonderful it was for him to live out a dream:
“If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy. I’m fortunate to have realized those dreams.”