Soccer star David Beckham returns to Long Island for Las Vegas Sands Corp-sponsored luncheon

English soccer icon and global brand ambassador David Beckham returned to Long Island earlier this month for another Las Vegas Sands Corp. event.

Beckham spoke to more than 600 people from the Long Island business community and its young soccer players on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. At the event, Beckham and Long Island Association CEO Matt Cohen discussed the soccer star’s storied career, as well as the commitment and dedication needed to make it a reality—a message all can take something away from.

“To reach a certain level and to obviously play the game that you love at the highest level, it takes sacrifice,” Beckham said. “There’s dedication and hard work but also you have to enjoy it. I told the boys yesterday and also in March with the initiative, I said, ‘Unless you’re enjoying it, don’t do it, because at the end of the day you have to enjoy what you do.”

The presentation was peppered with video highlights from Beckham’s 20-year plus career, but it was his reflection on one of the lowest moments of his career that stuck with people—when he received a red card that disqualified him from playing against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. England went on to lose that game in penalty kicks and was eliminated.

“That moment was a difficult moment, and of course I wish it never would have happened, but it happened for a reason.” Beckham said. “It then pushed me into a place where I then had to grow as a person, as a player. I look back on it, if that hadn’t have happened, I might not have had the career I had … It was one of those moments that changed my life forever.”

Throughout the luncheon, Beckham frequently addressed a group of local youth soccer players  directly. Ten-year-old Frankie Rodrigues, who plays for Long Island’s largest soccer academy SUSA FC, was one of those kids.

“It was awesome to be in the same room as David Beckham,” he told reporters.

In March, the former Manchester United star and current co-owner of MLS team Inter Miami participated in another youth soccer event also hosted by Las Vegas Sands with U.S. Women’s National Team star Carli Lloyd at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale.