Galaxy practice draws 15,000 in New Zealand

The Los Angeles Galaxy with David Beckham drew a crowd of 15,000 to its training session in Wellington, New Zealand ahead of its Saturday exhibition game against the Wellington Phoenix.

The Associated Press noted that the large crowd for a soccer practice is unprecedented in New Zealand, where the sport takes a backseat to rugby.

The game is expected to be a 35,000 sellout in a stadium that has filled only for the All Blacks national rugby team and an annual rugby tournament.

The biggest soccer crowd in New Zealand's history was 32,000 for a World Cup qualifier against Kuwait in Auckland in 1982.

Beckham briefly addressed the crowd via stadium's video screen.

"Notoriously, [New Zealand] is big on rugby but I hope that we can change that, just for one day and hopefully going forward because I've seen the potential football or soccer has in America," said Beckham, who is making his first visit to New Zealand.

The Galaxy drew 80,000 fans Tuesday's game against Sydney FC in Australia, a 5-3 Galaxy loss in which Beckham scored on a free kick.

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