Beckham and Soccer – Who Knew!

I had the privilege (?) last night of attending my first ever professional soccer game. Yes, the game was between David Beckham, err, the L.A. Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps in B.C. Place stadium. For those who know me you may be wondering why I would care to go see David Beckham, let alone a soccer game (yes, I would have preferred curling, tennis or golf)! Well, it was a birthday gathering with some of my cousins, and to be completely honest, I was intrigued with all the hoopla surrounding Beckham and this sport everyone seems to love.

The game itself was quite dull (understatement?); ending in a nil-nil draw (I hope my soccer lingo is accurate!). Beside the Whitecaps missing a penalty kick, the highlight was probably the streaker who managed to run his mere 250 pound frame around the whole field before being tackled by security, even coming to within ten feet of Beckham himself.

Ok, so what do I make of all the hoopla? It was pretty obvious right from the get-go a few months back that this friendly match was entirely promotional. Bring in Beckham and create a buzz for soccer. Pretty simple… So I guess the question is whether or not this promotional gig was a success. To my surprise and perhaps others as well, from my uneducated soccer perspective I would have to say yes, it was a promotional success. I, along with a considerable chunk of the people in attendance were doing something we had never done before: attending a Whitecaps soccer game (and yes, I would consider going to another!). However, just going to a nil-nil game is likely not enough to bring hordes of fans back for more. What is necessary is for more buzz in the days and weeks that follow last night. Which brings me to this morning. I am sitting in a coffee shop and at several different points people throughout the room began talking about the soccer game. Interestingly, however, is that from what I could hear the talk was less about Beckham and more about the game itself.

What does this mean? Is soccer itself, with the help of Mr. Beckham, actually creating a buzz in a city where the topic of a certain hockey team's jerseys create more of a stir that any other sports topic? A definite answer may be premature, but for the time being it seems that soccer is at the fore. There is still much the sport will have to do to overtake curling, tennis, and golf from my list of favorite sports (a goal perhap!?!), but for this morning at least it managed to peak my interest enough to at least blog about it. You have got to start somewhere!

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