Beckham Looking Forward to U.S. Challenge

ByABC News via logo

Jan. 12, 2007 — -- International soccer superstar David Beckham is looking forward to the new challenge of playing before an American audience when he leaves Real Madrid at the end of the season for Major League Soccer's the Los Angeles Galaxy and a $250 million contract.

"I think it's just a huge challenge," Beckham told "Good Morning America" today. "I've played football (the term for soccer in Europe) for years. I see the challenge in the U.S. … I think the U.S. is an amazing country and a passionate country. For me the challenge is there."

Beckham's announcement has the sports world buzzing.

"David Beckham coming to the United States is … [like] Tiger Woods meeting Brad Pitt on the red carpet," said USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. "This transcends sports. This is a big, big deal."

Outside the United States, Beckham is not only one of the world's biggest sports stars -- he's also a certified sex symbol. His moves off the field are followed just as closely as his moves on the field.

Beckham believes soccer hasn't taken off in the United States because of the popularity of basketball, football and baseball. But he hopes to the change that.

"I think there are many other great sports in America that people are more into," he said. "I'm not saying soccer is going to be as big in those other sports…And if I can be part of that, I want to be."

The size of Beckham's contract -- $250 million -- is also raising eyebrows.

"It's a huge amount of money and it's what most people are talking about over here in Europe," he said. "But I've said before: This move…is not about the money. It's hopefully making a difference in the U.S. with the soccer…The main thing for me is to improve the soccer and improve the standard and change history really."

Beckham is married to former Spice Girl Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham and the couple is a favorite target of the British paparazzi.

"We've talked about different things, I think moving there as a family is a big thing for us," Beckham said of his wife. "We've spent four years now in Spain, and now we're moving to a totally different country with a different culture."

When asked whether the former Spice Girl would resume her singing career, he said she was happy working on her fashion line.

"Victoria's happy doing what she's doing at the moment," he said. "She's got her own fashion line…I'm sure there will be plenty of other opportunities for her."

Beckham has received $20 million a year to push Pepsi and Adidas, and his Adidas cleats fetch $450 a pair.

In the United States, he's not quite a household name -- at least not yet. But media watchers are gambling that a lot more Americans will know him very soon.

"All that fame and fortune that he's amassed, which is already the world's largest snowball, is going to be rolling down the hill in the United States gathering momentum," Brennan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.