David Beckham, born in 1975, English soccer player who’s long,
bending shots have made him popular in England and around the world.
David Robert Joseph Beckham was born in the Leytonstone area of
London. He was signed by the Manchester United club as a junior player while
still in his teens. Beckham made his first appearance on the senior team for
Manchester United as a substitute in 1992, and his first league game came in
1995 against Leeds United. On the first day of the 1996-97 season, he made a
stunning goal in a game against Wimbledon, scoring from his own team’s half of
the field. Two weeks later he made his international debut for England in a
World Cup qualifying match.
An attacking midfielder with a hard shot, Beckham is a specialist
at scoring on long-range free kicks. He led Manchester United to titles in the
Premier League (England’s top soccer league) in 1996 and 1997 and was voted the
Professional Football Association (FA) Young Player of the Year for the 1996-97
Beckham rose to international prominence during the 1998 World Cup
when he scored on a spectacular free kick in the early rounds, before being
disqualified for kicking an opponent during England's second-round match
against Argentina—an incident that provoked a great deal of criticism by
England's followers. Despite much derision from opposing fans over the
ejection, Beckham helped Manchester United to an unprecedented championship run
in the 1998-99 season, winning the European Champions League, FA Premiership,
and FA Cup titles. Manchester United also won the Premiership title in the
1999-2000, 2000-01, and 2002-03 seasons. At the end of 2001 Beckham was
runner-up to Portuguese star Luis Figo in the voting for the FIFA (Federation International
de Football Association) World Player of the Year Award.
Beckham was named captain of the English national team in 2000 and
kept the title under the team's new coach, Sven-Golan Eriksson, for the 2002
World Cup. One of Beckham’s most dramatic national team goals came against
Greece in 2001, a late score that clinched a berth for England in the World Cup
tournament. Beckham broke his foot in the months leading up to the 2002 World
Cup, however, and barely managed to recover in time for the tournament. He
still managed to lead his team to the quarterfinals, where England was beaten
by eventual winner Brazil.
In 2003 Beckham signed a four-year contract to play for the
Spanish club Real Madrid. In 2007 Beckham announced that he would leave Real
Madrid to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer (MLS), a
United States professional soccer league. According to reports, Beckham’s
five-year deal with the Galaxy was worth $250 million in salary and commercial
endorsements. MLS hoped that the charismatic Beckham would help boost
attendance and television ratings and bring the league to greater prominence
throughout the sports world.