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Fans Prepare for Beckham's First LA Game Saturday


Renowned British soccer star David Beckham is scheduled to play his first game with the Los Angeles Galaxy Saturday, when the Galaxy will face the visiting English team, Chelsea. However, an injury may keep him out of that match. Mike O'Sullivan reports the 32-year-old celebrity midfielder is expected to draw needed attention to Major League Soccer, after coming over from Spanish club Real Madrid.

David Beckham -- international celebrity, soccer star -- is an outstanding midfielder. During his long career, Beckham helped the English team Manchester United win nine championships, and this year his playing contributed to Real Madrid's victory to win the Spanish title.

Even before Beckham arrived, young soccer players, like 12-year-old Melissa Paramo, were excited. "Because he's cute, and he's going to make Galaxy number one," she told us.

American soccer trails such sports as baseball and basketball in popularity. An American college football game can draw more than 10 million television viewers. A Major League Soccer game may draw a few hundred thousand. Only international competitions such as the Word Cup can find a big audience in the United States.

But the Los Angeles Galaxy has its dedicated fans, many of them Latino. Alexander Mira never misses a game. "Oh yes, I've been a Galaxy fan for 12 years,” he says, “and I will follow the Galaxy until the end of my life."

Others have come to the stadium in suburban Los Angeles just to see the new Galaxy star. "Because David Beckham is here, coming to the LA Galaxy. We're going to watch him play,” explained two girls.

The arrival of Beckham and his wife, Victoria "Posh Spice," had all the glitter of a Hollywood premiere.

The event drew soccer fans Diane Tipton and her son from Oregon. "Beckham is big, I think, everywhere in America right now," she said.

Beckham heads into the new season nursing an ankle injury. Despite this, the Los Angeles Galaxy's game against England's Chelsea club promises to draw viewers on both sides of the Atlantic. The Galaxy hope the enthusiasm will spread among American sports fans.

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