Sunday, January 28, 2007

Galaxy and Beckham schedule 2008 tour to Asia

USA Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy and its star signing David Beckham are furthering plans to tour Asia. Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas, a former US international who played professionally in Italy's Serie A during the 1990s, said the Asian tour, including Australia, is scheduled for 2008. "There's already stuff in the works for Australia and Asia. Our relative proximity allows us to do something.We have these opportunities that come along and we don't want to waste them," he told Matthew Hall of the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It's disappointing the relationship between Australia and the US hasn't been stronger. What we have in common, and what should unite us, is that there is a general lack of respect for the football played in our leagues and the individual players we can produce. There's an ignorance and arrogance around the world," he said.

"This is a watershed moment for our organisation [and signing] Beckham has accelerated the process. Galaxy is the jewel of Major League Soccer. We have won championships, we have had great players, great fans. From a business standpoint, we lead the way. We also have a vision to become not just a premier sports team in the US, but a premier team in the world - a superclub of the standard of Real Madrid and Manchester United. Will that happen overnight? Absolutely not, but it is a long-term process," he said.

Galaxy officials also hinted to the Sydney Morning Herald that the USA MLS could soon become a destination for rising Australian stars searching for a stepping stone to bigger things as well as veterans considering quitting Europe for the A-League. "We never get many Australians but I hope that changes," coach Frank Yallop said. "Someone like Mark Viduka would do great in this league. Harry Kewell is another."

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