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Rapids keeper coach Chris Sharpe: Beckham impact on MLS and US Soccer immeasurable

Colorado Rapids academy goalkeeper coach Chris Sharpe discusses David Beckham's MLS legacy and his own experience of working with the departing LA Galaxy star.

It's impossible to put a price on what David Beckham has meant to US soccer and MLS.

'Amazing', 'incredible', you can take your pick of superlatives, but what I can say is to a man, you won't find anyone in MLS with a bad word to say about David.

David was - and still is - highly regarded in MLS, very well respected as a player, person and for what he has done and brought to the game in the USA. His impact on soccer in this country has been a wonderful. He's been a huge success both on and off the field.

In the lead up to the MLS Cup final, a lot of the focus on David was what he brought to the pitch and the influence he had on convincing other big names like Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane to make the move to the 'States. But his work with the nation's young players and the example he set was just as important.

I was lucky enough to work with him at LA Galaxy a couple of years ago.

In the time I spent with him at LA, he displayed an inviting personality that was very easy to feed off. His time at Manchester United and Real Madrid was obvious. He was very confident, very commanding of the players around him, very demanding of himself and his team mates.

And he was a brilliant influence on young players, a great role model. He was the ultimate professional in the way he approached his work, day in and day out, whether it be training, games, nutrition, media - he set a great example for all the young pros he came in contact with.

He was never a 'Big-time Charlie'. He had a great relationship with his teammates. He's just a very genuine, down-to-earth guy. A real family man, who always showed the utmost respect towards teammates and coaching staff.

Luckily enough, I was able to not only work with David, but also be in the opposition camp at Colorado Rapids and when we faced Galaxy a lot of preparation was centred around stopping him.

We always showed David great respect.

He has been and still is a brilliant player, one of the best engines I have ever played against and not to mention his distribution and execution from dead balls - one would argue he is still the best in the world.

Minimizing free kicks around your penalty area and corners were key when playing against him. But his threat was not just restricted to set-pieces. When playing the Galaxy, defending against him along the touchline and not diving in was a mantra. You had to get tight on him whenever you lost possession. He could deliver crosses or knock 40-50 yard long balls to catch you on the counter.

There's no doubt David has another one or two years left in him. I can see him returning to Europe and playing in one of the top leagues, no problem. It's certainly not beyond him.

He's super fit, takes very good care of himself and if he stays injury free there's absolutely no doubt he could do a top job for a PSG, QPR or West Ham United.

About the author

Tribal Football Staff

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