Galaxy midfielder David Beckham announced today that MLS Cup 2012 on Dec. 1 at Home Depot Center will be his final competitive game with the club after six seasons.
“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 said. “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.
“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.”
From the Galaxy press release:
“The arrival of Beckham in Southern California and Major League Soccer has coincided with a period of unrivaled growth for both the Galaxy and the league, which is approaching the conclusion of its 17th season.
Seven expansion teams – Montreal, Portland, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Jose and Toronto FC – have debuted since 2007 while 15 of the league’s 19 teams now play in soccer specific stadiums, up from five prior to 2007.
Attendance at those stadiums are at unprecedented highs with an average of 18,807 fans attending games during the 2012 MLS regular season and nearly 22,000 fans turning out per game in the postseason. Additionally, exposure and recognition of the Galaxy and MLS are at all-time highs with the league maintaining national television broadcast deals with ESPN, NBC Sports and Univision while the Galaxy reached a 10-year broadcast deal with Time Warner Cable Sports in November 2011 that is the most lucrative in MLS history.”
“Seldom does an athlete redefine a sport and David not only took our franchise to another level but he took our sport to another level,” said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan star played 98 regular season games for the Galaxy scoring 18 goals and 40 assists, fourth most in club history.
Beckham is also a veteran of three World Cups and played 115 times for England.
Notice, incidentally, there was no use of the “r” word — retirement — in the press release, but given his comments above we can safely assume that this is the end of his competitive days of playing football.