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Soccer debate at a fever pitch

July 14, 2007

If I invite David Beckham over to the house to watch the paint dry on the my walls, will it make it more exciting? I don't think so. Soccer in the United States was boring before David Beckham, it will be boring in the United States with David Beckham.

STEVE SHAEVEL

Woodland Hills

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Big surprise. Bill Plaschke hates soccer. At least now that he has done his token column on Beckham, he can go back to kissing the butt of the Lakers.

CHRIS THORNE

Los Angeles

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Bill Plaschke, will you continue to reinforce the stereotype that understanding the relevancy of soccer in the U.S. is almost always inversely proportional to the advanced age of a sports journalist?

PAUL RIDER

Los Angeles

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I think that there are a lot more things in the world of sports than David Beckham. Yes, I am a big fan of Beckham but the fact is that this week at Wimbledon, Venus Williams and Roger Federer won and it was barely noticed even though it was on the front page.

However my younger sister thinks all the coverage of David Beckham is great.

KRISTIN DISCIPULO (AGE 14)

Redondo Beach

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So, Roger Federer makes tennis history at Wimbledon but your sports section front page features a gigantic illustration of David Beckham. Wow, that's sports journalism at its finest.

BEN BURKHALTER

Manhattan Beach

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Regarding Bill Plaschke's column deriding the hype about David Beckham coming to play for the Galaxy, at this point the cry of all truly bored Southern California sports fans should be, "Anybody but Kobe and Barry!"

PETER RICH

Los Angeles

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I commend Grahame L. Jones and Chuck Culpepper on their respective articles on David Beckham. Beckham certainly will be a dynamic addition to the U.S. soccer league, given his talents and his celebrity. However, I cannot help but ponder the real reason for his "uber stardom," and why he is now the highest-paid soccer player in the world.

Beckham did perform well while playing in the late 1990s to early 2000s for Manchester United. I do respect his talent and effort as a player.

However, he has yet to (and probably now never will) demonstrate incandescence in World Cup competition. England has not done particularly well during his tenure on the national team. He was mediocre while with Real Madrid, where he paled in comparison to teammates such as Zidane and Ronaldo.

I believe the reason he is so well-known and beloved around the world is because he is of white complexion and blond hair. There are many current players out there with talent and accomplishments equal to and greater than those of Beckham (Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Raul), but these are mostly players of color, and therefore less marketable to the general white public who yearn for one of their own as their hero.

JOHN EDMONDS

Pasadena

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I have been reading The Times' sports page for 50 years and I have never, ever been so disappointed, so angry, as with your David Beckham worship articles Sunday and Monday.

Please do not waste valuable space that could be devoted to real sports.

A.W. FREEMAN

Los Angeles

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People who don't enjoy soccer are one thing, people who bad-mouth soccer are another: small-minded. Americans who think sports end with baseball, football and basketball are merely quaint and provincial. Soccer rules the world, the whole world.

David Beckham coming to MLS is a good thing, it increases awareness of the league and generates interest in the players on the field. U.S. soccer is growing and this is a step forward.

RICHARD KARLIS

Malibu

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Grahame Jones' article "Mexico is back to soccer heights" [July 11] would be laughable if not for the fact that many Americans might not know enough about the sport to spot the ridiculously flawed logic. Is he moonlighting as the Mexican Futbol Federation's minister of propaganda?

So "El Tri" is playing well in a tournament that has absolutely nothing to do with them (or us -- hence the U.S. sending a squad of youngsters to cut their teeth in preparation for the future). Well done. And according to Mr. Jones, this matters more than our regional championship, the Gold Cup, in which the full U.S. squad soundly beat the full Mexican squad in the final.

OK Grahame, let's pretend you're right and South America's championship matters more to us than North America's. How does the U.S. dominance over Mexico for the last decade-plus fit into the equation?

"Soccer heights" indeed.

DAVID TWIGG

El Segundo

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