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Villa keeper Guzan: US soccer owes so much to Beckham

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan says Manchester United and Real Madrid legend David Beckham has been a huge influence on the success of soccer in the USA.

Guzan, 29, played for Chivas, the Los Angeles rivals of Beckham's Galaxy when Goldenballs arrived in Major League Soccer in 2007.

He has since seen football lose its minority-sport status Stateside, with the MLS on the up and major TV network NBC shelling out £150million for a three-year Premier League ­broadcast deal.

Guzan told the Sunday Mirror: "I was playing in LA when Beckham arrived and there is no getting around it, he changed the sport in America.

"Whether you want to say it was only for the Hollywood-esque aura that he brought to the League or the notoriety he bought to soccer, it was all for the better, as the sport has grown in America.

"Beckham is on a different level from other footballers as a global icon. Since I left the MLS for England it is unbelievable how much the game has grown over there - and Villa have big support.

"A lot of kids play soccer but when they get to 10 or 12 they end up choosing basketball, baseball or American football. So it is good to now see kids now starting to stick with it.

"Winning our group at the 2010 World Cup played a big part. Now ESPN, NBC and the major press are picking up on how big the sport could be. You can watch more Premier League games in America than you can here on a Saturday."

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