â†µSure, Henry is past his prime, but he's just 32 years old (he turns 33 in August) so it's not like he doesn't have a few more miles left in his tank. Henry comes to New York from Barcelona where, admittedly, he became an accessory on the world's most famous roster. In America, he'll become the main soccer attraction wherever he goes. This is David Beckham 2.0, without anywhere near as much fanfare, but with, likely, more production on the field. Beckham's first few seasons in Los Angeles weren't much to brag about, but last year, when the hype died down, he was rather productive for the Galaxy. That, more than any residual buzz, is how Henry could help New York: he can still score at this level, and will help New York win matches. That's good for the league. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥"Some people might think that I'm going to go there for vacation," Henry said in a Red Bulls promotional video. "Well, I do go there for vacation, but it won't be vacation this time. Don't get me wrong, I'm a competitor. Trust me, I don't like to lose. I'm not going to say that we are going to win every single game or we're going to win everything. â†µâ‡¥â†µHenry barely saw the field, as France was embarrassed out of the 2010 World Cup. When France got to the finals four years ago, however, Henry was an integral part of the team, earning a spot on the World Cup All-Star team. He was a five-time French player of the year and was named to the UEFA team of the year five times as well. He led the Premiership in scoring four times in a five-year span in the 2000s and won the European Golden Boot twice in that span. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥"What I'm saying to you is I'm a competitor. So in training, or even with some friends when I play in the park, I just want to win and try to do everything in my power to win the game." â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µHenry knows how to score, so on the field, he'll immediately help a team that, this season, is already tied for fifth in the league in scoring. But of course, Henry does provide star power. â†µâ†µ
â†µThere are many good international players in MLS, but none have garnered anywhere near the attention that Beckham did. Henry is that type of personality. He's a huge international star, and will absolutely bring more attention to MLS. This is the second shoe we've been waiting MLS to drop in the years since signing Beckham. This could lead to more players wanting to come to America and play. â†µâ†µ
â†µSure some of the players may be on the back end of their careers – there have been reports that Fabio Canavarro may be interested in coming as well – but eventually the older established stars could draw in players looking to rehabilitate their careers – Djibril Cisse, I'm looking in your general direction – or even a young crop of talent looking to make an initial impact and creates names for themselves. Why sign with a European squad to sit the bench behind aging stars when you can come to MLS and play along side them? â†µâ†µ
â†µMLS has been smart not to over-reach with designated players and turn their league into the old NASL that began to crumble once the likes of Pele finally retired. No matter how high the ratings were for the World Cup, the MLS is not going to take over the country, nor the international soccer world, no matter how many Henry's they sign. But hanging jerseys like Henry's in the front window is a great way to get more attention. Let's hope more big name do start to follow. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.