20 AUGUST 2007

His eldest son is called Brooklyn, but it was the kids of Harlem who captured football superstar David Beckham's heart during a visit to New York.

The 32-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy captain found himself mobbed by eager fans ahead of the weekend's match against New York Red Bulls.

Smiling broadly, Galaxy's £128-million player treated the delighted youngsters of the Harlem Youth Soccer League to one of his popular football clinics, showing off an impressive array of moves in his mission to convert the United States to the beautiful game.

Not even the playful heckling from the basketball players in the neighbouring court could stop him. Instead, David bounded past the security cordon to chat to the young men and happily signed autographs – even if some of the balls offered for his signature weren't the usual round shape the England star is used to. Alongside baseball mitts and basketballs, one confused fan held up a rugby-shaped American football to receive the wanted signature.

And it seems being in the city that never sleeps gave the player a valuable boost. "Just being in the city is a great vibe from moment you touch down to the moment you leave," he told reporters. "There's just so much energy here."

Though Galaxy were eventually beaten 5-4, David - who is recovering from an ankle injury - will have been buoyed by his team's spirited performance and his own participation for the full 90 minutes, before a record 66,000-strong crowd.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
A hectic schedule featuring games with LA Galaxy before flying off to Heathrow to prepare for this Wednesday's England game against Germany didn't stop David showing the Harlem youngsters how to improve their footballing skills Photo: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The hecklers in the neighbouring basketball team were delighted when the midfielder broke through security controls to sign autographs for themPhoto: © Rex