David Beckham will help promote soccer in China by taking a role as a global ambassador for the game in the world’s most populous country.
The former captain of England’s national team, who joined French club Paris Saint-Germain in January, will visit China this year to help advance both the sport and the country’s Super League.
“I’m excited by the prospect of promoting the world’s greatest game to football fans inside China as I’ve seen firsthand that there’s a great interest in football from sports fans in China,” Beckham, 37, said in a statement issued by IMG Worldwide Inc. “This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I’m relishing the opportunity of welcoming more fans to the game.”
The Chinese Football Association has invited Beckham as it looks to introduce soccer to the more than 1.3 billion people in the country and inspire children to play.
Professional soccer in China celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013 and the Super League begins its 10th season on March 8. Beckham will attend Super League matches and visit with clubs while in China.
Beckham, who started his career at English club Manchester United before joining Spain’s Real Madrid in 2003, signed a five-month contract with PSG in January after his agreement with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy expired. He served as an ambassador to the 2012 London Olympics.