LOS ANGELES - Soccer great David Beckham and his wife, "Posh Spice" Victoria, arrived with their three children to begin their new life in Los Angeles, greeted by the familiar sight of reporters and photographers.
Authorities set up barricades at Los Angeles International Airport as if the arrival of the soccer star and the Spice Girl was a red carpet premiere. The British power couple held hands as they walked out of a terminal shortly before 8:20 p.m. after arriving aboard a British Airways flight from London.
Their three children accompanied them on the flight, but did not exit the terminal with them. Victoria Beckham wore a sleeveless black dress and sunglasses and gave a quick wave to the paparazzi. He was dressed in a black jacket and jeans.
Several people at the airport to pick up passengers became paparazzi themselves, snapping images with their cell phones.
"It was so awesome, he looks better in person than in the magazines," said devoted Beckham fan Priscilla Flores, 15. "I'm really excited to see him play his first game here. He'll make soccer more popular here."
The media swarm also attracted curious onlookers, though not everyone knew what the big deal was.
"Who's David Beckham?" asked Austin Baker, an 11-year-old waiting for a flight.
The English midfielder, who helped Real Madrid win the Spanish title last month, will play for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. He's set to be introduced by the Galaxy on Friday, and to make his playing debut in an exhibition match against Chelsea on July 21 in Carson, Calif.
Beckham is scheduled to make around $32.5 million over five years with the Galaxy and millions more in endorsement deals.
Despite playing thousands of miles away, Beckham hopes to stay in the England lineup and help the team qualify for next year's European Championship. He was dropped following the 2006 World Cup, but has returned to the team.
The Beckhams will make their new home in a reported $22 million, 13,000-square foot villa in Beverly Hills, where neighbors include their friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
They will also appear in a one-hour NBC special, "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America," airing July 16 at 8 p.m.