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Beckham, Pele and investing in grassroots football



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We’ve talked a lot about youth football here on Soccerlens, especially where non-official ventures such as the Ministry of Football and Fugees Family are concerned. It’s all about developing a community-level interest to invest in the game instead of waiting for the people in charge (who often don’t have enough money to invest).

And while you may fault the ‘stars’ for their high wages, many of them are also responsible for reinvesting into the game. From Rio Ferdinand with his Uganda academy to David Beckham with his World of Sport venture in Brazil, successful players are blending business and sport and doing their bit to reinvest into football.

Sometimes though, these players can make an impact without making a buck, and that’s exactly what happened earlier this week in New York in the 2008 Streets to Fields fundraiser put on by the MLS. The New York Times reported that $300,000 was raised by the very unpublicized event. Both David Beckham and Pele were involved, with David Beckham giving “the award to the man,” in his words, honoring Pele for his lifetime achievement in supporting American soccer.

Adam Spangler over at TIAS has a detailed photo review. MLSNet has a decent writeup as well.

Can former and current players do more? Of course they can, and it starts with the likes of Beckham and Pele, down to the likes of Diego Gutierrez and even down to the likes of our resident goalkeepers, John Stevanja and Liviu Bird. Anyone who is even remotely involved in football can play a role in promoting it, raising awareness and creating investment for it.

So the big question is – what are you doing about it?

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.