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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World Cup derby: Becks, bids, bikes & megabucks

i-66b371c8b5217a115fa5300efb136300-carlosbid.jpgSunil Gulati, President of the U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra and FIFA President Joseph Blatter pose with the U.S. bid book. (AP Photos).

ZURICH (AP) – Nine candidates to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 brought big hitters including David Beckham, the crown prince of Qatar and billionaire benefactors to hand over their bid books to FIFA on Friday.

“It is now the kick off,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter told Australia’s delegation, which led
in alphabetical order.

Four bidders from Europe, four from the Asian confederation, plus the United States presented their technical documents at the headquarters of soccer’s global governing body.

The formal handover started the final phase of campaigning, when FIFA will analyze the
candidates’ plans before its executive committee chooses the two tournament hosts in
December.

While England and the United States say they have venues ready to host a World Cup,
construction projects for Qatar and Russia would run to several billions of dollars.

“It will require huge investment, but nothing that can’t be done,” said Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, heir apparent of the Qatari state.

Sheik Tamim called on FIFA to award the Middle East its first World Cup, and break down barriers as it did by giving this year’s World Cup to South Africa.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said an American World Cup needed no public funds and would average 76,000 spectators per match, a tournament record.

“We think we offer FIFA an extraordinary opportunity in the U.S., commercially and
soccer-wise,” Gulati said.

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said he recognized it was a difficult
contest.

“We hope and pray that we might be the lucky country,” said Lowy, a billionaire businessman leading the bid.

England’s bid team was fronted by Beckham — the star of the show when candidates were brought together in Cape Town six months ago.

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Beckham said his country had a passion for soccer running through its veins, and a diverse population that would welcome the world. Every team will turn up and have their own fans supporting them,” said Beckham, who is vice president of England’s campaign.

Blatter described England as “the motherland of football,” and said new British Prime Minister David Cameron called him on Thursday offering government support for the bid.

The FIFA chief dropped several hints that England should focus on hosting in 2018, and teased bid leaders whether they meant to include “2022″ on the cover of their book. Europe is favored to be given the 2018 finals, with England and Russia competing against joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Spain-Portugal. All four are also in the 2022 race but would be barred if one gets the 2018 tournament.

Russia’s bid team gave Blatter a letter from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has made
hosting the World Cup a national priority. Igor Shuvalov, first deputy prime minister, said Russia had become unofficial favorite in the 2018 race because the nation of 200 million people offered the most potential to spread the game.

“Russia can deliver more than England or Spain,” Shuvalov said. “Development will be on a different level.”

i-47554d832cd67ed97527fc320987ce46-bikeruud.jpgDutch playing greats Ruud Gullit, left, and Johan Cruyff presented the Netherlands-Belgium case for a green finals, promising to provide two million bicycles for fans to use.

Australia and the U.S. also are bidding for both contests. Japan, Qatar and South Korea have focused solely on 2022, believing Europe is a lock for 2018 because the 2010 tournament is in South Africa and Brazil hosts in 2014.

The U.S. was last of the nine scheduled to meet Blatter and deliver its five-volume technical plan.

Each bid book explains how the monthlong, 64-match tournament would be organized, with details of at least 12 stadiums, plus training camps, hotels, security protocols, IT and medical support, and fans’ entertainment.

Candidates must also give FIFA copies of government guarantees, contracts with each city and venue, and details of finance and insurance.

FIFA officials will use the bid books as the basis for technical inspections of each
candidate, starting with Japan from July 19-22 and ending Sept. 13-17 in Qatar.

Chilean federation leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls will lead the inspection team, which also includes Dali Tahir, a member of the FIFA ethics panel. It is monitoring the bid process to ensure candidates do not try to influence FIFA officials with gifts and inducements.

FIFA’s 24 executive members will choose the two hosts on Dec. 2 in Zurich.
Five of the current bidders have previously staged a World Cup: England (1966), Spain (1982), U.S. (1994), and Japan and South Korea (co-hosted 2002).

Five nations — Brazil (1950 & 2014), France (1938 & 1998), Germany (1974 & 2006), Italy (1934 & 1990) and Mexico (1970 & 1986) — have been awarded two World Cups.

Here’s more on the U.S. bid:

NEW YORK (AP) — The United States has proposed holding the World Cup draw in Miami ahead of a tournament in 2018 or 2022 and suggested the possibility of hosting the opener in Dallas.

The U.S. bid, presented to FIFA on Friday, would put the qualifying draw in New York, its
location ahead of the 1994 tournament.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said from Zurich that the proposals were “very preliminary.”

Gulati also said FIFA has not brought up the new immigration law in Arizona but suggested “it may not need to cost us votes.” The U.S. proposed 18 cities and Gulati noted only 12 were needed, a sign Glendale could be dropped if it becomes and issue.

FIFA’s executive committee will choose the 2018 and 2022 hosts on Dec. 2.

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David Beckham: Greek God?

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Apparently.

Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy was inspired by David Beckham’s Achilles’ tendon injury to write this verse titled “Achilles.”

“Myth’s river — where his mother dipped him, fished him, a slippery golden boy flowed on, his name on its lips.

“Without him, it was prophesied, they would not take Troy.

“Women hid him, concealed him in girls’ sarongs; days of sweetmeats, spices, silver songs…

“But when Odysseus came, with an athlete’s build, a sword and a shield, he followed him to the battlefield, the crowd’s roar,

“And it was sport, not war, his charmed foot on the ball…

“But then his heel, his heel, his heel…”

As one wit wrote, can’t wait to read the poem about Toger Tiger Woods.

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Sign of the Times

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How the mighty have fallen.

This is the Marshall’s store at Torrance’s Del Amo Fashion Center over the weekend (pic snapped via the wife’s cell phone).

There were one or two Chivas USA and Chicago Fire shirts to be found and a whole rack of David Beckham Galaxy blue road replica jerseys, which once sold for around $85, now on sale for $24.99.

Don’t cry for Becks though: he’s doing just fine in Italy.

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Your Daily Beckham

Sorry.

But so many people either sent me or are linking to this little gem from one of England’s trashiest tabloids I felt compelled to exploit the story
um, get it on the record.

The deal won’t happen, even without considering the source.

If the wanna-be Real Madrid president planted this, it’s merely a ploy to win votes for the Spanish club’s highly-politicized presidential election. It’s common for candidates to make such promises to fans as in “I will bring you Kaka, Beckham and Josh Wicks.” Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.

Also, Becks has been there and done that (see also why he’ll leave the Galaxy this fall).

Almost equally as amusing is this cautionary tale for government bureaucrats who want to pander to the public.

And I loved this line at the end of the story: “Although a financial flop, the event is credited with helping to raise New Zealand’s international profile.”

How? As in being the latest schmucks to get taken in by the Beckham hype?

Finally, is it somehow comforting to know we can rely on The Hindustan Times to tell us this.

That is all. You may now resume your non-Beckham news consumption.

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