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MLS: The New League of the Stars?
SI.com, November 30th, 2006 5:11PM

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It's highly unlikely, but with the introduction of the so-called "Beckham Rule," Jonah Freedman of SI.com says Major League Soccer may be well on its way to a professional soccer revolution in this country. Freedman says that without a doubt, the fact that salary cap restrictions no longer apply to "designated players" means bigger stars are on the way. To make room for the real Becks in Los Angeles-thought to be his preferred U.S. destination-Alexi Lalas would have to make an off-season trade for a second DP spot, just like Bruce Arena did by trading Amado Guevara to Chivas USA last week. That would clear room on the Galaxy's roster for both Landon Donovan and Beckham, "which I truly believe is going to happen," an optimistic Freedman says, adding: "the idea of Becks whipping in crosses to Lando is YouTube gold for MLS." The arrival of Beckham in LA and Luis Figo and Ronaldo in New York would instantly boost the league's profile, both domestically and abroad. These guys are legends of the game. Sure, their best years are behind them, but they've each recorded some outstanding achievements and their sheer, lasting celebrity power is enough to put people in seats and boost ratings. However, reigning in the ego of someone like Ronaldo could prove to be a problem, whom we all know loves to eat, loves the women, and loves to party, but hates fitness training. Freedman points out that some might be thinking that they saw this movie when it was called "Once in a Lifetime," chronicling the rise and fall of the N.Y. Cosmos and the NASL, but what's different this time is the league is more aware of overall fiscal responsibility-oh, and cameramen also know how to shoot soccer games now, so the TV deals are likely to last. As Freedman says, "The pieces are falling into place." Read the original story...


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