Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Beckham heads to Asia with Galaxy
by Ridge Mahoney, November 27th, 2011 11:41PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  los angeles galaxy, mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Aside from a few friendlies on the Galaxy's pre-Christmas foreign tour, David Beckham may have represented MLS for the last time when he celebrated the league championship with his teammates a week ago Sunday at Home Depot Center.

It’s a measure of his reputation and fame that he’s very much in the news, with offers from Paris St. Germain and other clubs floating his way as the Galaxy heads overseas to cash in, yet again, on his allure.

It’s a safe bet that a fair percentage of the approximately 400 media members present at HDC for MLS Cup attended because of him, and though they may never return to see another league match in North America it’s hard to argue Beckham's 5-year stint didn’t dramatically alter the American soccer landscape and brought unprecedented awareness of MLS.

“No, the people I speak to back home enjoy it and they’re certainly getting a lot of followers,” said Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, one of the many international players to take first notice of MLS when Beckham’s blockbuster deal was announced in January, 2007. “Speaking to a lot of friends that play in the Premiership, I know for a fact there’s a lot that would like to come over here.”

Thus, the Beckham Experiment appears to have ended, though it’s not out of the question he could come back for the second half of the 2012 MLS season on loan from Paris St. Germain. Officially, negotiations began last week, with the French club offering some staggering financial guarantees as well as the opportunity to live and work in one of Europe’s historic cities.

Signing in France would free him to play for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, which will be held during the summer offseason for most European leagues. He could then resume playing for PSG when the French league starts up in late August, or utilize another alternative.

One of the possible conditions of an 18-month contract with PSG is an MLS loan option, which would cover the August-to-November portion of the 2012 MLS season. He couldn’t be registered on the PSG playing roster until the secondary European transfer window opened on Jan. 1, 2013, but could again accompany the Galaxy on a postseason tour. That factor could tempt the Galaxy to work out a loan deal by balancing the marketability of a final Beckham fling against the costs of renting him.

The process worked in reverse three years ago when he clandestinely negotiated a loan deal with AC Milan that embarrassed the Galaxy and MLS when it came to light. After vehement denials Beckham would be leaving, Anschutz Entertainment President Tim Leiweke cut a deal for a sizable and never publicly revealed loan fee. He and the Galaxy also insisted Beckham return in time for the start of the MLS season in March, 2009, rather than finish out the Serie A season with Milan.

After those rocky 2007 and 2008 seasons, the Galaxy has reeled off three excellent campaigns: MLS Cup finalist in 2009 (lost on penalties to Real Salt Lake), Supporters’ Shield winner in 2010 and 2011, and champion in 2011.

Coach Bruce Arena masterminded the transformation, which smoothed over frictions between Beckham and Landon Donovan, but more importantly converted the Galaxy from dysfunctional embarrassment into formidable franchise. On this stage, Beckham-the-player at last outshone Beckham-the-icon to the mutual benefit of his team and the league.

“I don’t think this league would be anywhere close to where it is now without him,” said midfielder Mike Magee. “The effort he’s put into making this league recognizable around the world and the game he’s even played on the field has helped the league grow a tremendous amount. It wouldn’t have done that without him.”

On its tour the Galaxy will play in Indonesia, the Phillipines, and Australia. If it’s to be his last hurrah in a Los Angeles jersey, in the eyes of many, Beckham has done enough in America to move on if he so decides. Playing all 90 minutes of the final with a strained hamstring he suffered in training further burnished a season during which he registered 19 assists, including the playoffs.

"David is a champion," Arena said during a post-MLS Cup press conference.  "I've been around great athletes and competitors in my life, and this guy is as good as it comes. Unbelievable desire to win. He's a great teammate, a great person. He's done it all in every country he's been in.

“What more can you say about a guy like this and what he's brought to this organization and this league in five years? He gutted it out tonight. He obviously wanted to be there.

“Whatever he decides, I support him. He’s earned that.”

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: A fowl field invasion    
A duck's crash landing interrupted a Bulgarian league game despite goalkeeper Nikolay Bankov's best efforts to ...
What They're Saying: Political science professor Fabio Wanderley Reis    
"People are not feeling represented and candidates like [Joao Leite and Alexandre Kalil], with very little political ...
USL: Nashville SC hires SUM exec Jeske    
Court Jeske, who spent eight years at MLS and Soccer United Marketing as vice president, international ...
MLS: Brad Davis joins vets who are retiring    
Brad Davis, a six-time MLS all-star and two-time MLS champion, announced Sunday that he will retire ...
NASL Rewind: Rayo OKC surges in playoff race    
With one week left in the NASL regular season, Rayo OKC, the Oklahoma club that in ...
Video Pick: Kaka finishes with golazo    
Kaka's second MLS season also ended without a playoff bid, but the Brazilian superstar is a ...
SA Power Rankings: Red Bulls finish on top    
FC Dallas took the Supporters; Shield by repeating its 60-point performance of 2015, but the New ...
What They're Saying: Jeff Agoos    
"I think the irony that people don't realize about Bruce is he is the most loyal ...
By the Numbers: MLS playoff teams since All-Star Game    
The MLS All-Star break isn't a "break" in the sense that the MLB All-Star Game is ...
MLS: All the Decision Day talking points    
FC Dallas is two-thirds the way toward the first treble in MLS history ... Seattle made ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives