- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2007

A couple of weeks ago it was pondered in this column that “there is so much riding on David Beckham’s appearance in America that it’s hard to imagine the worst: What if he gets injured?” There was concern at the time that Beckham could fall prey to a wild tackle from one of Major League Soccer’s “bad boys” once he arrives here in the summer.

Well, it didn’t take long for the future MLS talisman to suffer that dreaded injury. Apart from a few residents inside the Arctic Circle, most of the world knows that Beckham suffered a freak injury playing for his club, Real Madrid, last weekend. He limped off the field with a second-degree sprain of the internal lateral ligament after attempting one of his trademark passes.

The injury sent jitters into the hearts of MLS officials and the deep pockets behind Anschutz Entertainment Group, which has signed Beckham to a five-year multimillion dollar deal that could be worth $250 million. MLS has essentially tailored the latter part of the season around Beckham, with the midfielder scheduled to appear in every league market by the season’s end. That means an awful lot of ticket sales are invested in the health of Beckham, who in December took out a personal insurance policy of $193 million, the biggest in sporting history.

Initially it was thought that Beckham had a suffered a torn ligament, but it was later revealed the sprained knee will only keep him out for a month. Still, it’s a tough blow for Beckham, who was making a surprising comeback with his Spanish club and looked certain to be recalled to the English national team for the crucial Euro 2008 games against Israel and Andorra this month.

Then again, there is a silver lining to Beckham’s latest jinx for MLS. If Beckham had won his place back on the English national team and done well, it could have been problematic for MLS, which would have had to release him for international games later in the year. However, this latest injury may have finally sounded the death knell on Beckham’s national team career.

Now Beckham will have a month to rest and help his wife Victoria pack their bags and jewels for the move to Los Angeles this summer. Victoria, the former “Posh Spice,” has secured a deal with NBC for a six-episode reality series on the Beckham’s big move to the States.

“This show is really something different, it’s pushing the boundaries and I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Victoria Beckham told People magazine.

Luck of the draw — Freddy Adu and his teammates on the U.S. under-20 team have been handed a tough group for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada this July.

The Americans, who are coached by former D.C. United coach Thomas Rongen, were drawn against Brazil, South Korea and Poland in Group B.

On the other hand, the American men’s team got an easy draw in the CONCACAF Gold Cup this June. The United States was drawn in Group B with Guatemala (June 7), Trinidad and Tobago (June 9) and El Salvador (June 12). The first two games will be held at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., while the third will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Americans will be very familiar with Guatemala as the teams meet on March 28 in an exhibition game in Frisco, Texas.

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