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(Reuters) - Former England captain David Beckham, who won two Major League Soccer titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy, was among the first-time candidates named on the ballot for the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
The 42-year-old former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder played six seasons in MLS, all of them for the Galaxy, and helped his team to win championships in the last two of those seasons, 2011 and 2012.
His arrival in Los Angeles in 2007 put MLS on the map and brought a level of legitimacy and visibility that otherwise may have taken the North American league decades to reach.
Beckham, who is currently trying to get his proposed MLS franchise off the ground in Miami, met the Hall of Fame's eligibility criteria given his seasons in MLS, during which he scored 18 goals in 98 games.
The voting pool includes past and present men's and women's U.S. national team coaches, active MLS and National Women's Soccer League management, U.S. Soccer leadership, Hall of Famers and media members.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame closed its Oneonta, New York, location in 2010 with a new facility in Texas expected to open next year.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris