Countdown to David Beckham's U.S. Arrival Sparks Debate on the Future of Futbol and Football



    NFL Star Reggie Bush Challenges Beckham to Maintain First Rights
    to "Football" Name

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - This summer's hottest premiere will take place
on the soccer field when international star David Beckham makes his debut with
the Los Angeles Galaxy in July. As Beckham's arrival in the U.S. nears, the
debate on futbol and football begins with New Orleans Saints running back
Reggie Bush swapping the pigskin for a soccer ball. Bush traveled to Madrid to
show off some of his fancy footwork and teach Beckham a few things about
sports culture in the U.S. as an official welcome to the North American sports
scene.
    "Since I signed with the Galaxy, you know every time I do an interview,
I'm trying to get myself to say soccer because I've always said football,"
Beckham told Bush during their meeting in Madrid where the two world-class
athletes traded sports for a day.
    "And when you think about our sport we call football, it would seem like
(soccer) would be the sport you actually call football because you're kicking
it with your foot, so it makes sense," said Bush. "We call (American football)
football, but we actually throw it a lot more than we kick it."
    Beckham and Bush showed off their athletic skills and challenged each
other to tackle their respective sports. Beckham attempted a record-breaking
field goal with Bush as his placeholder and Bush attempted to "Bend it like
Beckham" as he practiced free kicks. Never before seen footage of this meeting
is available for viewing at www.futbolmeetsfootball.com.
    To build momentum for Beckham's U.S. arrival, adidas brought these two
star athletes together to embody the world's most popular and entertaining
sports through two of its biggest stars.
    "adidas is proud to support individuals like David Beckham and Reggie
Bush who display the world-class athleticism and charisma representative of
our athletes. Futbol meets Football is an extension of the Impossible is
Nothing brand mantra - unmatchable skill and talent that isn't afraid to face
something new and unfamiliar," said Stephen Pierpoint, vice president brand
marketing, adidas America. "We believe sports fans in North America will adopt
this same mentality and escalate their passion for soccer in the same way they
follow football."
    Major League Soccer in North America is poised for tremendous growth.
More than 140 million Americans tuned in for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in
Germany, compared to the 90 million Americans who watched the 2007 NFL Super
Bowl. As the most recognizable soccer player in the world enters the U.S.
playing field, the stage is set to catapult Major League Soccer to an
unprecedented level of professionalism, skill and fan frenzy. Whether soccer
can garner the attention of sports fans in North America long term may depend
on how it can compete with America's most popular sport, football.
    Beckham said, "I've never been to an (American football) game. I want to.
Because every time I've seen the Super Bowl or something like that, it's so
passionate. Everyone - the fans, the players - seems so passionate about it."
    "It's a big deal," Bush said. "What soccer is to Europe, I think that's
what American football is to America."
    "Without a doubt," Beckham said. "I'm definitely going to get myself to
some games."
    During Beckham and Bush's meeting in Madrid, Beckham strapped on a Saints
helmet and uniform with his signature number 23 and performed running drills,
ran pass routes with Bush defending him and kicked long-range field goals and
punts. Bush, meanwhile, laced up his soccer boots and shin pads and defended
short-range penalty kicks from Beckham playing goal keeper.
    Although each athlete looked momentarily uncomfortable in their new
sports, they were able to quickly grasp the nuances, such as Beckham spiking
the football after a touchdown catch and Bush playing a spirited game of keepy
uppy with his knees and feet. Later, the two athletes exchanged jerseys and
discussed what Beckham should expect after arriving in the U.S., from fan
reaction to media attention.
    Beckham is scheduled to begin his season with the Galaxy this July, while
Bush arrives at training camp for his second year with the Saints shortly
after. Before reporting, Bush has promised to attend Beckham's first Galaxy
match in Los Angeles.

    adidas is a global designer, developer and marketer of athletic footwear,
apparel and accessories with the mission to be the leading sports brand in the
world. Brand adidas is part of the adidas Group, a corporation that includes
brands such as Reebok, TaylorMade and Rockport.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/





For further information:

For further information: visit www.press.adidas.com or
www.futbolmeetsfootball.com contact: Megan Spoore, NATIONAL Public Relations,
(416) 848-1383, mspoore@national.ca; Jeff McDonell, adidas Canada, (905)
761-9900 x 2866, Jeff.McDonell@adidas.com

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