David Beckham began his daunting challenge to convert America into a soccer-mad nation with an uneventful 12-minute debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham got into the friendly against Chelsea in the 78th minute, jogging onto the field amid huge cheers and a sea of camera flashes from the sold-out crowd of 27,000 at Home Depot Center on Saturday.
"The atmosphere is incredible," he said after Chelsea's 1-0 victory.
The 32-year-old midfielder spent most of the game on the bench because of a nagging left ankle injury.
There were cheers each time Beckham touched the ball, the highlight being a corner kick he took in stoppage time. After taking about 10 minutes to get loose on the sideline, he entered as a substitute for Alan Gordon, who slapped hands with the English superstar before Beckham took the field for the first time.
"I'm not fit. I haven't trained since I got here. But it's nice to be out there," he said.
Chelsea captain John Terry scored in the 49th minute on a 19-yard shot that ricocheted off the right post and left post before caroming into the net.
Beckham got off the bench in the 66th minute to warm up, exciting fans who had waited most of the game to see him. He jogged up and down the sidelines and a roar went up when Beckham tapped an out-of-bounds ball back to the referee, his first kick of the night.