Beckham spent the first 32 years of his life in England, but America has become his home since he joined MLS team L.A. Galaxy in 2007. Both his home nation and his adopted nation has exceedingly difficult tasks in escaping from two of the toughest groups in the World Cup. Despite that, Beckham remains cautiously optimistic.
“The U.S. has gone into this World Cup on such a positive note,” he said on a phone call. “I think Jurgen [Klinsmann] has a professionalism that top managers have, and I think he’s a manager that knows what’s best for the team, what’s best for the players, and how to bring the players together.”
On the phone, no matter how much I was expecting it, it’s a little jarring to hear Beckham speak. His accent is delightful (he says “fink” instead of “think”) and, if you’ve never heard him speak, he sounds a little bit like if they made a British Muppet.
“But you know, it’s not hard to bring U.S. players together, because I think it’s in their blood,” he continued. “U.S. players are so proud of representing their country that when they go to a big tournament, they stick together like not many countries do. Going into something like this, I think that’s something they’ll need.”
The United States take on European powerhouses Germany and Portugal in Group G, along with Ghana, who have eliminated the U.S. from the last two World Cups. England face four-time World Cup champion Italy, two-time World Cup champion Uruguay, and upstart Costa Rica in a similarly packed group.
“With England, we’ve got a young team going into this, it’s fresh, it’s talented,” he said. “A lot depends on that first game [against Italy on June 14]. We have a chance. I mean, we’ve got a chance to get out of the group. And we’ll see what happens after that.”
Beckham just finished shooting a Showtime documentary, “David Beckham Into the Unknown,” a 90-minute film that follows Beckham and his friends as they travel around Brazil on motorcycles. Beckham wanted to explore Brazil, the host of this summer’s World Cup, but mostly he looked forward to taking the time for a boy’s trip.
“This is something that, A, I’ve never done before, and B, I’ve never been able to do before,” he said of the trip. “Obviously, you know, I’ve had a 22-year career in football, I’ve always been on a schedule. The fact that this was something I could do with friends…you know, I’ve never had a boy’s holiday. Something like this, for me, was a dream.”
He also talked about his wife, the pop singer Victoria Beckham, and if she was concerned about his motorcycle excursion through the jungles of Brazil.
“Worryingly enough,” he said, “[Victoria] was more worried about my hair and how it would hold up in the rain and humidity than she was about me being on the bike.”
Beckham’s latest venture is launching a new MLS team in Miami, a project that was just dealt a blow when Miami mayor Tomás Regalado vetoed a proposed plan to build the team’s stadium on the city’s waterfront. Beckham declined to talk about the mayor’s decision through a rep.
Beckham is on his way to China for work, but he will make it down to Brazil closer to the end of the World Cup. He promised his sons they would get to make the trip down for the tournament when they finished their school for the year.