European football superstar David Beckham made a cautious debut with his new team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, Saturday evening. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, the British midfielder played to a packed house for just 12 minutes.
It was an international friendly match between the Galaxy and the visiting English club Chelsea. Beckham, who is nursing an injured ankle, came in as a substitute in the 78th minute of the game.
The short debut was enough for the sellout crowd, which roared its approval.
Chelsea beat the Galaxy 1-0 on a goal in the 49th minute. Los Angeles soccer fan Ben Hauser was disappointed, but says with Beckham on the field, the game was exciting.
"It was definitely worth it. He electrified the crowd. You know, I'm a huge soccer fan, but if you're not a soccer fan, David Beckham is one to really get you excited about soccer in general. So it's pretty cool," said Hauser.
A visiting British soccer fan named Pete from Birmingham would have liked to see more of Beckham.
"I've seen David Beckham play before, and it was disappointing only to get 10 minutes of him. But it was a good game. Chelsea won, one-nil," he said.
Beckham, who last played for the Spanish team Real Madrid, has signed a five-year contract with the Galaxy worth more than $30 million. The deal will reach nearly $250 million with endorsements.
The Galaxy hope their new star will put U.S. Major League Soccer, or MLS, on the map. Galaxy fan Ned Compher thinks Beckham can do that.
"[He can] get the buzz going on, get the spark going with, hopefully, a newfound sport in Southern California, and America," he said. "And we're just excited that everyone's coming out. It's a beautiful day. I hope it keeps going, and MLS just keeps growing and growing and growing."
The Galaxy will resume its Major Soccer League schedule with a game at Toronto August 5.