Tuesday Kicks: Beckham, Fraser & more

*LONDON (AP) — David Beckham is training with Arsenal as he considers his playing future.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the former England captain called to ask if he could work on his fitness at the club’s training base outside London.

Beckham is without a club after leaving the Galaxy at the end
of a six-year stint in MLS..

Wenger stressed Tuesday that Beckham is only training with Arsenal and will not be signing with the club.

The 37-year-old Beckham, a former Manchester United star, is mulling offers from clubs around the world.

*Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez is getting his third U.S. cap tonight as the 6 p.m. game against Canada on ESPN2 gets under way.

*Former Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser has reportedly surfaced with Red Bull New York.

*The Galaxy announced Monday that former player Chris Klein will head up the Galaxy’s front office as club president, which may be a different title, but is essentially the same job as the one the fired Tom Payne used to hold.

*FC Santa Clarita storm provides the opposition for Chivas USA’s second preseason scrimmage set for 11 a.m. on field 6 at Home Depot Center. Fans are welcome to attend.

*Seven organizations in Southern California have received more than $130,000 in U.S. Soccer Foundation grants including the cities of Manhattan Beach, El Monte and the El Rancho Unified School District.

 

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Thursday Kicks: Brand Beckham heading to China?

  • You didn’t believe that claim by David Beckham he was in search of one last soccer challenge after leaving the Galaxy did you? Let’s face it, if he goes to China as rumored until the end of the season his biggest challenge will be selling enough replica jerseys regardless of what he does on the field.
  • In more modest transfer news, another former Galaxy midfielder has rejoined a former club.
  • Meanwhile, a slice of U.S. soccer history plays out on live on television this weekend, when for the first time ever Fox (the main network, not the soccer channel) airs a 9 a.m. Saturday third round FA Cup tie between Manchester United and West Ham United. From Fox: Over the last two seasons, FOX Sports has aired a combination of nine live and encore world-class matches from the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League in the U.S, averaging 1.5 million viewers each. The match on Jan. 5 marks the sixth time Manchester United and its star-studded offense, anchored by Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, have played on FOX in the last two years. Throughout the 2012-13 season, FOX Soccer and its premium network, FOX Soccer Plus, are home to more than 50 FA Cup matches as the exclusive U.S. rights holders.
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Tickets for David Beckham’s Final LA Galaxy Game on Sale at 3 p.m. today

Act fast if you want to see MLS Cup 2012, the last time you will see David Beckham in a Galaxy jersey in Southern California (there will be some exhibition games on a post-season tour overseas).

Tickets for the 1:30 p.m. Dec. 1 game against the Houston Dynamo start at $57.50 and are sure to go fast.

Purchase online here or by calling 877-3GALAXY (877-342-5299).

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David Beckham After the LA Galaxy: Destination Unknown

David Done: Beckham at his farewell press conference today in Carson (Photos by Staff Photographer Steve McCrank).

David Beckham is leaving the Galaxy — now he has to figure out where he’s going..

“I still feel I have something left in me as a player,” he said today at a press conference at Home Depot Center. “I still feel as if I have one more challenge in me as a player. Even at 37-years-old I feel I can play at a high level. Where that will be I haven’t decided. There’s some exciting opportunities on the table. Right now my focus is on the (MLS Cup) final, then we have a (post-season) tour to deal with, then it’s Christmas, which we always spend in London. So I’ll be there and make the decision then.”

Beckham, who stressed the decision was his alone, ruled out staying in MLS to play, as well as managing or coaching, but he remains interested in buying an MLS franchise (something written into his contract when he came to MLS) — maybe even the Galaxy.

“We’ll see,” he said with a smirk.

The Beckham family must also decide where they will live, wherever he plays.

“We haven’t decided where we’re going to live, where we’re going to base ourselves,” he said. ” It might be here. It might be Europe. We haven’t come to a decision right now.”

 

I asked Beckham what he thinks his relationship is with Galaxy fans now compared with the dark days of Achilles tendon injuries (caused by playing too much soccer, as he later admitted) and off season loans to Italy.

“Hopefully better,” he said with a chuckles. “Every time I’ve been asked about the loan part I’ve always tried to explain it.

 

“I’ve shown my commitment to the fans and hopefully they see that,” I just want people to have enjoyed watching me play here and work here.”

 

Here’s the story Staff Writer Phil Collin wrote for the dead tree edition.

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David Beckham to play final game for LA Galaxy at MLS Cup in Carson

What started in Carson in 2007 will end there.

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.


 

 

 

 

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Beckham: England can beat Italy today at Euro 2012

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I managed to ask former England and AC Milan midfielder David Beckham in the Galaxy locker room Saturday how he rated England’s chances in the Euro 2012 quarterfinal against Italy today (11:45 a.m. ESPN) and what he thought could be the keys to victory:

“Of course we can win,” he said.

“We’ve done well. In certain games that we’ve played even when they’ve not played well, they’re battling … showing a togetherness, which is obviously important, we’ve got character, we’ve got a lot of young kids in the team with a lot of pace and they’re all performing.

“The manager is making the right changes at the right times and coming up against a good Italian tomorrow with players like (Andrea) Pirlo, I’ve obviously played with him, he’s one of the most exceptional passers I’ve ever seen.

“But then we’ve got Stevie G (Gerrard) who, again, is one of the best midfielders I’ve ever played with so, we’ve definitely got a chance of beating them. I would hope we do and then we come up against the Germans in the semifinal, which would be nice.

“It’s a proud time for our country. If our team does well in international competition it would be great for our fans.

“I’m sure they’ve got a huge amount of respect for each other — they are two of the best midfielders in the world,” Beckham added about Pirlo and Gerrard. “Whoever plays well is going to set up the team to win the game.

“There’s a lot of players in this game that can win it, players like forward (Antonio) Cassano, I played with him before, he’s a dangerous player. Players like (striker Mario) Balotelli, he is what he is, he’s a goal scorer and he’s been exceptional for Man. City and he scored a great goal in the last game. And we’ve got Wayne (Rooney) and other players who have been playing well like (Danny) Welbeck.”

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Video: The Galaxy visit the White House*

*Updated with video

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Big shots: President Barack Obama congratulates the Galaxy on their MLS Cup triumph last year — and David Beckham for his Sper Bowl underwear ad (AP Photo).

The President shoots and scores as he greets the Galaxy today:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is ribbing soccer star David Beckham over his age and his outside interests, saying it’s a “rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear.”

Obama welcomed Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy to the White House Tuesday to celebrate their third Major League Soccer Cup. The president joked that the star-studded Galaxy, led by Beckham, midfielder Landon Donovan and forward Robbie Keane, are the “Miami Heat of soccer.”

Obama told the 37-year-old Beckham that half of his teammates “could be his kids. We’re getting old, David.” The president said the model and athlete was “holding up better than me.”

Beckham generated attention in February when H&M aired ads for his new undergarment collection during the Super Bowl.

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Beckham in Afghanistan

And before anyone asks, no, I don’t know why we’re getting advance word of a supposedly “surprise visit,” but the part-time Galaxy player never passes up the opportunity for some good publicity:

LONDON (AP) — David Beckham is flying to Afghanistan for a surprise visit to boost morale for the thousands of British troops stationed there.

The British Forces’ news service says the soccer star is accompanying troops on a flight from Oxfordshire to the British military base in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

The former England captain will meet hundreds of British and American troops, as well as medical staff and patients.

The 35-year-old Beckham is also expected to drum up support for England and its bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Beckham said Friday he has wanted to visit Afghanistan for a long time. He says he admires the troops and their work makes him “very proud to be British.”

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