Soccer is basically hockey on grass. With a ball instead of a puck. And oh yeah, no sticks but whatever. You get the point. I'm also a little skeptical that MLS's aggressive plan is real growth. I read that in 2008: Other than the bigger markets these clubs are teetering (most of the clubs do not turn a profit). The league is averaging 16K people per game. And that the gazillion dollar man from England barely effected a change in U.S. attendance. I think Simon Cowell or Gordon Ramsey would draw more fans if they played a celebrity soccer game in L.A.
I'm skeptical about the MLS too as far as branching out in its popularity. Having Pele, Johan Cruyff, and George Best among others in the defunct North American Soccer League obviously didn't work. Realistically, MLS won't get there or at least, not for a very long time. Unlike the Big Four sports here, MLS is still an afterthought on the world stage. The Premiership, La Liga, and even the leagues in Latin America are thought of as more prestigious as MLS. For what it is, MLS does a solid job of drawing attention from American fans, putting soccer in an Americanized sports structure like the NBA, NHL, and NFL, which many outsiders think is a weird implementation of a soccer league (i.e. presence of divisions, playoff system). From what I heard, some would equate MLS' quality of play with the English Football League Championship (the league below the Premier League in England), which should be considered quite a compliment. Besides, Barcelona want to establish an MLS franchise too (much like Chivas did here in L.A.), which definitely has to be cool.
As far as Beckham goes, I think the American media and fans believe the man should be a miracle worker within a year when it comes to MLS. In short, I think it's an unrealistic expectation that Beckham can transform soccer in the way it's perceived, like what Wayne Gretzky did for hockey (at least in California) or what Michael Jordan did for basketball as a brand that transcends sport. The fact that he wanted to stay with Milan permanently, speaks volumes that one, Beckham can still be a quality player in a European league and two, he still has plenty to play for on a more prestigious stage (i.e. Serie A, Champions League). I wasn't surprised Becks wanted to move back to Europe sooner than later, well before his 5-year deal with the LA Galaxy was up, and I think he needs a year-round environment to keep in form for England, at least.
BTW, Lemmy Kilmister lives in L.A. He can take both Cowell and Ramsay any day.