Following in the steps of Prince Charles, who earlier this year visited a charter school in Harlem, another class of British royalty is lending his celebrity to the neighborhood.
The British soccer star and fashion icon, David Beckham, is spending today in Harlem on his first trip to New York City since beginning his American soccer career as captain of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Ahead of a game tomorrow evening against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium, Mr. Beckham, 32, is scheduled to spend the afternoon coaching 33 teenage players from a local soccer club, the FC Harlem Lions team. His visit to the Harlem clinic at 138th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, where he will be joined by Red Bulls forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore, is intended to highlight the need for more soccer fields in the neighborhood, a spokesman for Major League Soccer, Dan Courtemanche, said.
The youth soccer team is working with the city's Parks Department to create more public soccer fields in Harlem.
Mr. Beckham has played for the European clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid, and served as the captain of England's national team. His five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy reportedly is worth about $250 million. The team has already sold about 250,000 jerseys with his no. 23 printed on their backs.
Despite the acclaim, Mr. Beckham has called his move to America one of the biggest challenges of his career. An ankle injury sidelined Mr. Beckham for several games during his first month with the Galaxy, though he is expected to play tomorrow night.
Mr. Beckham and the coach of the Galaxy, Frank Yallop, are scheduled to hold a press conference at the Barclay New York Hotel in Midtown Manhattan this afternoon to discuss tomorrow's game.
"He'll also be practicing with the team today at Montclair State," Mr. Courtemanche said. "What he does tonight is up to Mr. Beckham."