David Beckham: The American Years

Two years after David Beckham became the U.S. soccer savior, he’ll leave in disgrace. Grant Wahl on how Tom Cruise and Will Smith got Becks started on the wrong foot. Plus, view our gallery of Posh and Becks in America.

Valerie Macon, AFP / Getty Images

Valerie Macon, AFP / Getty Images

THE EGOS HAVE LANDED

Six months after the announcement he was leaving Real Madrid to play in the United States, David and Victoria Beckham finally arrived in Los Angeles, July 12, 2007.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

THE SHIRT ON HIS BACK

David Beckham is officially announced as a Los Angeles Galaxy player at the Home Depot Center Stadium on July 13, 2007. Jersey sales of his number "23" skyrocketed even before the announcement.

Toby Canham / Getty Images

POSH LIFE

Talk about an A-list affair: Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Victoria and David, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith arrive for a welcoming party for the golden couple. The publicity-friendly event was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art's Geffen Warehouse on July 22, 2007 in Los Angeles.

NZPA, Ross Setford / AP Photo

THE SHIRT OFF HIS BACK

Beckham leaves the field after his team's match against Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium, in New Zealand on December 1, 2007. After injuring his right knee during a match at the end of August, Becks remained off the field for six weeks.

Marco Garcia / AP Photo

TEACH THE CHILDREN WELL

The man who was going to bring soccer to America at a community event at Waianae High School on February 19, 2008, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

Dave Bjerke / NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images

A NEW JAYWALKING CONTESTANT

While in Los Angeles, Beckham took some time to sit on Jay Leno's couch on April 1, 2008.

Tammie Arroyo / AP Photo

GOOOOOOL-DEN COUPLE

David and Victoria Beckham arrive at the Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy Costume Institute Gala held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2008, in New York City.

Chris Carlson / AP Photo

LOOK, SURI, IT'S BECKS!

Tom Cruise, holding his daughter Suri, and wife Katie Holmes watch a Galaxy match from David Beckham's box. Beckham said that after he met Tom, he thought "Cruise is a great name, but we could spell it different." And so it was: The Beckhams named their third son Cruz.

Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo

SUPPORTING THE LOCALS

David Beckham and his son Brooklyn watch the Los Angeles Lakers face the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference basketball finals on May 21, 2008.

Kevin Sam, FilmMagic / Getty Images

BRAND IT LIKE BECKHAM

Talk about a traffic-stopper: The David Beckham Emporio Armani poster is unveiled at Armani's advertising campaign at Union Square Park on June 18, 2008, in San Francisco.

Mark Mainz / AP Images for Fox

TOTAL BABE ON BOARD

Beckham accepts his Choice Male Athlete with his sons Cruz , Brooklyn, and Romeo during the 2008 Teen Choice Awards on August 3, 2008, in Los Angeles.

Evan Agostini / AP Photo

BECKHAM: THE FRAGRANCE?

David and Victoria Beckham attend a 'Beckham Signature' fragrance launch event at Macy's department store on September 26, 2008, in New York. Hopefully it doesn't smell like a postgame jersey.

Richard Drew / AP Photo

JERSEY GIRL

During an appearance on the Today show in New York, Beckham signs a lucky fan's shirt.

Press Association via AP Images

BECKLASH

Angry fans wave banners at the game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and AC Milan on July 20, 2009. David Beckham got involved in an ugly confrontation with fans at his home return game in Los Angeles. The former England captain attempted to jump over a barrier as he left the field at halftime to answer a section of the crowd that had been jeering him.