Football superstar Pele, whose arrival into American Major League Soccer saw a surge in interest when he joined the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, believes that David Beckham can help promote the game but had better be prepared to work hard.
Beckham will be officially unveiled as an LA Galaxy player on Friday.
The 32 year old, who spent four years in pain with Real Madrid, has caused a media storm since announcing his decision to move to the USA.
"Everybody knows David Beckham is a good player. He's very well known all over the world and I think he could help soccer in the United States," said Pele.
Pele, however, had a word of caution for Beckham, noting the standard of play in the United States had grown considerably since his pioneering days.
"But I advise him ... it will be very difficult to play because the teams are very good. They mark very well. Be prepared, be in good condition because it is not easy to play in the United States. The football is now at a high level.
"In my time it was a little different. It was more complicated," the triple World Cup winner said.
"I came here to start (the professional game). The football here was just amateur and college. The football has grown a lot over here.
"I had the opportunity to play with great players -- (Franz) Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia, (Johan) Cruyff. This motivated the kids, the people, to come into the game.
"Now Beckham has to continue the work."
The Brazilian suggested Beckham just might bring the right mix of celebrity and skill to accomplish the mission in America, whose national team has reached the last five World Cups.
"He is one of the players in the last 10 years who has most promoted himself and the football," Pele said with a laugh.
"Since he left England for Real Madrid, it's always like this. His wife is an entertainer, she was a singer. This made Beckham now become a showman."