Beckham Officially Introduced

Amid a shower of blue, white and gold confetti, the David Beckham era in Los Angeles – and Major League Soccer – officially began on Friday morning.
An estimated 5,000 smiling fans and countless members of the global media assembled at the Home Depot Center under sunny skies to witness David Beckham’s introduction as the newest member of the Los Angeles Galaxy. With millions watching around the world, the press conference was the culmination of six months of anticipation and hype surrounding the superstar’s move to America.

The gravity of the event was not lost on MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who was present for the event. “This is truly a historic day for the sport of soccer in America, here in Los Angeles, and in the history of the Galaxy,” said Garber. “It’s a moment we should all cherish.”

Wife Victoria – aka Posh Spice - was on hand for the affair, delighting a throng of photographers who followed her every move. Wearing an eye-catching pink dress, she waved to the crowd and posed for pictures before taking her seat on the field.

Following brief words from Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas and head coach Frank Yallop, Beckham rose from his chair to receive his #23 jersey as confetti and the cheers of his fans filled the southern California air.

“First of all, I’d like to say how honored I am for so many people to come here and to see me be presented today,” he began. “This is one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever taken on in my career. Potentially in the States, soccer could be as big as it is everywhere else around the world, and I’m very proud to be part of that.”

At one point during his speech, Beckham had to correct himself for nearly calling the game by its international name instead of the American term. “For me, the most important thing is my family. The second thing is the foot-, the soccer,” he said with a smile before apologizing for the mix-up. “I’ll get used to that at some point, I’m sorry.”

Off the field, the superstar’s addition will do wonders in terms of publicity and, hopefully, reputation of the league. On the field, the Galaxy are desperate to reap their reward as soon as possible. With a jam-packed schedule on the horizon, the club has compiled a less-than-stellar record of 3-5-4, leaving them second-to-bottom in the league standings.

Coach Frank Yallop, however, expressed optimism that a turnaround was in the works. “It’s been a long wait, believe me,” Yallop told the crowd. “I feel now that David is the last piece of the puzzle for us to really start to get our season moving in the right direction.”

View the rest of my photos here.

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