Pele Sees Similarities In Beckham

Pele's journey to America was not so different from the journey David Beckham is about to begin, according to the Brazilian.

In 1975, Pele joined the North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos. This July, David Beckham will be joining the Los Angeles Galaxy. "It's almost the same," said Pele. "The game wasn't as popular when we came. The first year was rough. The league was a new league."

But eventually the league attracted a huge following, with the Cosmos selling out Giants Stadium in August of 1977, before ultimately burning out financially in the early 80's. MLS, always wary of repeating NASL's mistakes, is banking on Beckham to take the league - and the sport - to another level in this country. "In this moment, the MLS is more prepared than it was then," said Enzo Francescoli, chief executive of GolTV. "Ten, 12 years the MLS has in this project. Finally coming here are the best players."

Beckham has maintained that he signed with the Galaxy not to boost his already bulging bank account, but to instead help further the game in America. To Pele, Beckham's approach is almost the same: "There are a lot of similarities."

Whether the league can cash in long-term on it's new-found popularity remains to be seen, but with the increased coverage around the world and interest from a higher tier of players worldwide, MLS - and soccer in America - seems destined to be successful this time around.

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