Major League Soccer isn't any more popular in the United States than it was two years ago when David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles. The sport probably won't be any less popular when he leaves, which some believe may occur later this year. He already seems to have one foot out the door.
Beckham says that advancing the sport in the America has been a passion. If that was his quest, he has failed miserably. It's not his fault that soccer has never been embraced by the mainstream media. But Beckham has put his own self-interests ahead of his MLS team.
The agreement between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Italian club AC Milan essentially gives Beckham what he wanted. Being allowed to remain with AC Milan through the end of the season means he will miss the first half of the Galaxy's season.
When the Galaxy agreed to loan him to AC Milan, Beckham had said he would return to L.A. in time for the start of the MLS season in March. He's reneged on his promised and won't join the Galaxy until the middle of July for the final 13 games.
In 2007, the Galaxy signed Beckham to a five-year contract that made him the highest-paid player in MLS. The deal contains a buyout clause that allows Beckham to leave at the conclusion of the 2009 season. And there will be speculation that he'll bolt if the Galaxy continue their losing ways.
If he leaves, his departure will go largely unnoticed. He was a novelty act that has worn off.