Book tells Beckham's LA story: from star to unknown

NEW YORK (Reuters) - England soccer player David Beckham was a superstar in Europe but when he moved to America a waiter demanded to see his ID and refused him a glass of wine, according to a book due out in July.

AC Milan's David Beckham reacts against Al-Sadd during the Jafal Rashed testimonial soccer match at the Jassim Bin Hamed stadium in Doha March 4, 2009. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

“The Beckham Experiment,” by Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl, features interviews with 33-year-old Beckham and other major figures in Los Angeles Galaxy, the soccer team he joined in 2007 after a stellar career in Europe.

The move to Los Angeles with his pop star wife Victoria Beckham was the latest chapter in a life story that has mixed celebrity with athletic prowess. Beckham signed a five-year deal worth an estimated $250 million and arrived in a blaze of publicity promising to help raise soccer’s profile in America.

But after an injury-plagued first season and a total of five goals during his time with the Galaxy, Beckham, 33, made clear earlier this year he preferred to play with Italian club AC Milan, where he is on loan.

Household names in Britain and the rest of Europe, the Beckhams had struggled to translate their appeal to star-heavy Los Angeles and a celebrity media obsessed with the antics of Britney Spears and the expanding family of Angelina Jolie. Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House that is part of Bertelsmann AG, said the book would provide an account of Beckham’s “celebrity packaging and the inner workings of a Beckham team.”

“Wahl provides a detailed account of Beckham’s aspirations and worries about his American adventure, his interactions with Galaxy teammates making as little as $12,900 a year, his icy relationships with Galaxy star Landon Donovan and former team president Alexi Lalas,” Crown said in a statement.

It said it would also reveal the story of how Beckham’s management company, 19 Entertainment, “engineered a shadow takeover of Galaxy.”

The book also features Beckham discussing the technique of his trademark bending free-kick goals, his marriage to the former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and his relationship with celebrities such as Tom Cruise.

Anecdotes include an occasion when Beckham was denied a glass of wine because he could not produce an ID document for a U.S. waiter who did not recognize him, Crown said. Many bars in the United States card people well over the age of 21, the legal age for drinking alcohol.

Beckham is currently on loan to AC Milan until the end of the Serie A season. He will then return to the Galaxy before likely going back to Italy in November.

Crown said the book would be published on July 14.

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and David Storey