MANILA, Philippines – David Beckham is bidding his LA Galaxy team farewell.
On Monday, November 19, the popular midfielder announced that his final competitive game with the team will be MLS Cup 2012 on Saturday, December 1.
This, after six seasons with the club.
“I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career,” Beckham was quoted as saying in the team’s official website.
Since Beckham was first signed five years ago in January 2007, his presence has boosted the popularity of Major League Soccer (MLS), America’s professional football league, not just in the country but in the world.
Beckham also helped the club reach 3 MLS Cup berths, and one championship in 2011 — the team’s third in history.
“In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year. I’ve been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I’ve had from fans in L.A. and across the States. Soccer’s potential has no limits in this wonderful country and I want to always be part of growing it,” he said.
Beckham had originally signed a two-year extension with the team but his announcement signifies he will only complete half of it. He did not explain why.
It is also unclear if he will continue playing for MLS but for a different team.
During Beckham’s time in Southern California, seven teams have joined the league, attendance in matches have risen to an all-time high, and MLS has maintained national television broadcast deals.
The Galaxy also reached a 10-year broadcast deal in 2011 with Time Warner Cable Sports — the most lucrative in the history of the league.
“When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.
“There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived. David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the League.”
Despite Beckham’s departure, the former England captain hinted that he may still have a future with MLS, but in a different scope.
“I don’t see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future,” he said.
While with the Galaxy, Beckham has appeared in 98 regular season games, scored 18 goals and registered 40 assists. He is also the first player in MLS history to have an assist in 5 consecutive postseason games.
Beckham has also joined his club in tours around the world during postseason, including a trip to the Philippines in December 2011.
Meanwhile, the Australian football federation said it continues to hope that Beckham will still play in Australia’s A-League this season, despite denials from his representatives.- Rappler.com