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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Beckham unfazed by pressure in US
David Beckham
Beckham was unveiled in glittering fashion by LA Galaxy
Midfielder David Beckham insists he can cope with the pressure of championing football in the United States.

Beckham, 32, who was unveiled by new club LA Galaxy on Friday, wants what Americans call soccer to be as popular in the US as the rest of the world.

"I think most of America is positive about me coming here and about soccer in general so I can never be worried about selling out stadiums," he said.

"I have had pressures all through my career, especially this year."

Beckham left Real Madrid at the end of last season after helping the club win the Spanish league title.

However, back in January - when he initially agreed a deal that tied up his switch to Major League Soccer once Real's season was over - he found himself out of the first team.

He was also sidelined from the England squad but after knuckling down in training he clinched a recall for both club and country.

The former England captain added: "I have had a rollercoaster year where I have been in the team and been out of the team on the club and country side.

I wouldn't say Pele failed because when he was here he was bringing in stadiums of 80,000 people

David Beckham on Brazil legend Pele's time in the United States

"That turned around and Real Madrid ended up winning the league and I ended up getting back into the national team. So of course there have been expectations here but there have been expectations all the way through my career.

"It is how you handle it and how you live up to it and if I can do that in the way I have done in my career so far I will be very proud."

Beckham is not the first player who has arrived in the US hoping to persuade the nation to take the game of football to its hearts but he says his situation is different to the time when Pele, George Best and Franz Beckenbauer tried to ply their trade in America.

Pele was at the New York Cosmos in the 1970s but, while the influx of stars helped promote the game, the momentum and interest evaporated.

"I wouldn't say Pele failed because when he was here he was bringing in stadiums of 80,000 people," stated Beckham.

"And, seeing the reactions and DVDs of Pele it was a pretty incredible time.

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"It was just afterwards the stability of the league was not there. Now there is more stability in the MLS and, hopefully, it can go to a different level but it is going to be tough.

"I'm looking to take the sport to a different level and create awareness."

Beckham hopes youngsters will give the game a chance and said: "I want to help kids who have played the sport and been brought up on football in the US and give them experience - make them believe there is a career for them outside of basketball, baseball and American football.

"They are all great sports but this is one of the biggest sporting nations in the world.

"Football is not one of the top three biggest sports in this country but hopefully that can change."

Former Manchester United star Beckham also claims he has no regrets about joining LA Galaxy amid suggestions that he has moved away from European football too soon.

Asked if he had moved to America a year too early, he replied: "No. Not at all.

"I made my decision at a time when I was not playing for England or Real Madrid but I did not take it lightly.

"I didn't think my career in Europe was over. I just thought I was taking a little bit of a rest period.

"Luckily, I have been brought back into the England squad and I was brought back in to the Real Madrid team. I ended the season with a league title and ended it strongly."



SEE ALSO
Red carpet rolled out for Beckham
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Beckham's arrival in photos
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Fans clamour to see Beckham play
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Los Angeles catches Beckham fever
13 Jul 07 |  Americas
Pele tells Beckham to expect test
12 Jul 07 |  Football
Comment: End of Becks' phoney war
13 Jul 07 |  Football
Beckham: Then and now
13 Jul 07 |  Football
Beckham's US test
12 Jul 07 |  Football
First among equals
12 Jul 07 |  Magazine
Will Brand Beckham break America?
12 Jul 07 |  Entertainment


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