David Beckham to Play for L.A. Galaxy

By BETH HARRIS
The Associated Press
Thursday, January 11, 2007; 10:11 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Bend this, TomKat and Brangelina: Becks 'n' Posh are coming to Hollywood. And David Beckham didn't even have to audition to become the next American Idol. The most recognized soccer player on the planet _ fashion icon, tabloid fixture, marketing giant _ announced a deal Thursday to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"David Beckham is a global sports icon who will transcend the sport of soccer in America," gushed Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber.

Bringing free kicks, glitz and his Spice Girl wife, Beckham is leading another British invasion, hoping to do for American soccer what the Beatles once did for pop music _ make it rock.

"There are so many great sports in America," the 31-year-old former England captain said. "There are so many kids that play baseball, American football, basketball. But soccer is huge all around the world apart from America, so that's where I want to make a difference with the kids."

Beckham turned down a two-year contract extension from Spanish team Real Madrid, where his fading skills left him on the bench.

The Galaxy didn't say exactly what they'll pay him, but floated a figure of $250 million in salary and commercial endorsements over the five years of his contract. In other words, his move could be worth $1 million a week.

Los Angeles opens its season April 8 in Houston, but Beckham is not expected to join the team until August. His four-year contract with Madrid expires at the end of this season.

He'll start for the Galaxy and could enter a whole new universe: His deal was negotiated over 10 days by major entertainment industry players Simon Fuller, creator of "American Idol," and Creative Artists Agency, home to some of Hollywood's biggest actors.

Fuller manages both Beckham and his pop star wife, Victoria _ whose pal Katie Holmes (and her husband Tom Cruise) are represented by CAA.

Victoria Beckham hasn't hidden her desire to launch a Hollywood career.

"It's not lost on them that it's the entertainment capital of the world and they know many people in the entertainment industry here," said Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive officer of Galaxy owner AEG and a personal friend of the couple.

The Beckhams should fit in just fine in LA. He opened a soccer academy at the Galaxy's stadium complex last year, and she was photographed house-hunting in the area. Their young sons carry headline friendly monikers: Brooklyn and Romeo.


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