Lifestyle & Belief

Obama gets under Beckham's skin at White House


LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham presents US President Barack Obama with a signed soccer ball at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 15, 2012.



President Barack Obama shared in reflected glory with David Beckham and a close family member — Irish soccer player Robbie Keane — today in Washington.

OK, they’re just cousins — really distant cousins.

Obama welcomed Keane, Beckham and the rest of the LA Galaxy to the White House on Tuesday to laud them for winning the MLS Cup last season.

He joked that Beckham is holding up remarkably well for his age (37), and hoped that Keane — a “cousin of mine” — has broadened his horizons since moving to the US last season.

Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather on his mother’s side is from Ireland.

“Robbie arrived halfway through last season, scored his first goal in the first 21 minutes of his first game,” Obama said. “His teammates were so happy to have him that they filled his locker with what they called the ‘pleasures of Ireland’ — Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish Spring.”

The president also acknowledged the team, especially Beckham, has more cameras in tow than he does.

“It is a rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear,” Obama said to laughter.

Beckham is known as much for his modeling, underwear commercials and cologne as playing soccer for England.

The president’s praise continued when it came to Landon Donovan and coach Bruce Arena, both stalwarts of the US men’s World Cup team.

Donovan “has done more for American soccer than just about anybody,” while Obama now owes Arena a favor.

“When I called to congratulate him on winning the Cup, the team was in Indonesia; it was in the middle of the night. Thank you for taking my call and acting like you actually wanted to talk to me,” the president said.

Obama also admitted to being a “soccer dad” to Malia and Sasha.

The Galaxy had hoped to conduct a soccer clinic outside on the lawn, but rain forced them indoors, CNN reported.

About 60 children from across the country, instead, relocated to the State Dining Room.

It was part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move health initiative.

“We want to show kids just like you that there are all kinds of ways to be active, and that being active is also a whole lot of fun,” the First Lady told the kids, according to CNN. “It’s not always work; most of the time it’s a lot of fun.”