Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Former Pro Soccer Player
Currently Known For:
1992 - Present
May 2, 1975
Former Pro Soccer Player
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Here in the United States, soccer players don’t really scratch the upper surface of popularity for athletes. We tend to think of football, basketball and baseball players like Tom Brady, LeBron James or Bryce Harper as being the biggest stars in sports. However, there are certain times when soccer players are able to enter that realm of popularity in the states, and David Beckham has been among them. The English star was the most popular in the world during the height of his career, and though he hasn’t played in more than five years, he’s still a huge celebrity.
Beckham was born on May 2, 1975 in London, England, and like any boy from the country had dreams of being a professional soccer player. Though his teachers didn’t quite think that he’d be able to make it, Beckham never gave up those hopes. Growing up, Beckham was going to camps and playing youth soccer, showing a lot of potential.
In 1985, Beckham had played with Ridgeway Rovers, and eventually was on the youth squads for Tottenham Hotspur and Brimsdown Rovers. Beckham dreamed up playing for Manchester United, his favorite club, and got his chance at 16 years old when he was signed to be on their youth program. The youth squad that was assembled was a tremendous one, and it appeared the future of English soccer was very bright.
1992 saw the professional debut for Beckham on the Manchester United squad where he’d become a staple for more than a decade (outside of a five game loan early on in his career to Preston North End). Beckham appeared in 265 total matches for Manchester United during his career, netting 62 goals, becoming the team’s captain and earning a lot of accolades in the process.
It was big news in the soccer world when it was announced that Beckham would be joining Real Madrid over FC Barcelona. It was an entirely new fanbase for Beckham, and he played for 116 total matches for Madrid, scoring 13 goals. Then, after his time ended in 2007, Beckham was ready to head stateside in hopes of boosting soccer’s profile in America, signing with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham naturally became the biggest star in the league, earning championships with the Galaxy in nearly 100 appearances and 18 goals. During his 5 year tenure in the U.S., Beckham was loaned out to A.C. Milan twice with 29 total appearances.
In the first few weeks of 2013, after wrapping up his time with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham announced that he would be signing with Paris Saint-Germain in France, using his salary to donate to charity. He knew that he wouldn’t be playing with the team for long. Beckham wrapped up the French season with PSG, playing in 10 total games and not netting any goals during this time. After that, Beckham was ready to call it a career.
“It was always going to be difficult, no matter what I’d set up, no matter how many children I have got to take my mind off things,” Beckham said. “There was always going to be a moment when I finished playing, that I was going to find tough...Of course it hurts when people question i, but I’ve come to the end of my career and can look back and say I’ve achieved everything with every club that I’ve played for.”
Of course, you can’t talk about Beckham without talking about his famous marriage. During the height of the Spice Girls fame, Beckham began a relationship with Victoria Adams, who was then known as Posh Spice. The couple married in 1999 with everybody wanting to get coverage of the wedding between two people that were basically English royalty at that time.
The couple has had four children during their relationship, including their oldest son Brooklyn that has gotten into modeling and photography. “In my career, there’s many things I’ve won and many things I’ve achieved,” Beckham said. “But for me, my greatest achievement is my children and my family. It’s about being a good father, a good husband, just being connected to my family as much as possible.”
Now, loaded with hundreds of millions of dollars to his name, Beckham wants to continue to establish soccer in the United States. The country has yet to win a World Cup on the men’s side, having their best finish in 1930 at third place, never making it beyond the quarterfinals since then. He even launched a new Major League Soccer team in Miami, Florida, but it wasn’t an easy process.
“I think you have to go through these things in order to come out on the other side and be stronger and a better person,” he said of the patience it took to place a team in Miami, and it’s been a teaching lesson for his children. “The way of teaching them is by saying it’s not all smooth sailing, there’s going to be difficult times, it’s just how you react when you go through difficult times. That’s what I’ve always tried to teach the kids.”
The Beckham family makes a lot of appearances on television and are still A-list celebrities around the world despite no soccer games or new Spice Girls albums in years. That’s something that’s unlikely to change. It’s given Beckham a chance to look back on his career and his celebrity status. “I would never complain about the position I’m in or the attention I get. At the end of the day, I’m very lucky to have what I have and do what I do, but I don’t see myself as any different from anyone else who works hard and is a dad and a husband.”