UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Add David Beckham to the list of people who have been moved by the pope's visit to the United States.
The superstar was promoting child welfare at the United Nations on Thursday, a day before Pope Francis was due to address the body's General Assembly. Since his arrival in Washington on Tuesday, he's met with President Barack Obama and addressed Congress; he arrived in New York City on Thursday and was heading to Philadelphia on Friday.
Beckham called Pope Francis "truly amazing."
"I saw images of him this morning with a young girl, which is truly incredible. So children hit home with many people and I think no one can ignore that," he said.
The former soccer star has been a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF for 11 years and met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to highlight children in crisis around the world.
"(Last year) was one of the most devastating years on record for children. Due to conflicts, more than 15 million children were exposed to extreme violence and many more affected by natural disasters. This year is proving to be just as bad," said Beckham, speaking in front of a digital installation that featured messages from children around the world for world leaders. "As a UNICEF ambassador and as a father, it breaks my heart to see children continue to suffer."
Beckham has four children of his own with wife Victoria. His children have become celebrities in their own right — most notably teen son Brooklyn Beckham, who has been modeling.
"I suppose it is hard to control young kids these days. But we control ours pretty well. We have a great relationship with all of our children. You know, Brooklyn is 16. So he'll make mistakes and he'll learn by them. But he's a good boy," Beckham said.
Beckham is looking to start a new Major League Soccer team in Miami — an undertaking that has taken longer than expected. He said he's close to finding a location for the team's stadium.
"We've had some hiccups along the way. But I think Miami is such a great, vibrant city. And one that is ready to have a soccer team there. I'm looking forward to bringing them a team," he said. "It's going to take time. We've had a few mistakes along the way, which I'm glad we had them before rather than further along the line. But we're looking good. We're actually going to finalize the site in the next month, six weeks."