David Beckham announced Monday that he will play his last game with the Los Angeles Galaxy when the team contends for the MLS Cup 2012 in December. Beckham plans on becoming an owner of an MLS team.
David Beckham joined Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 after an illustrious career with Manchester United in the English Premier League, winning six league titles, and Real Madrid in Spain's La Liga, winning one league title with the team. Beckham was also captain of England's national team and made 115 appearances for the national team before retiring from international competition.
Beckham's strength on the pitch aside, perhaps his greatest strength has been his brand. Beckham has been the face of numerous advertising campaigns and has raked in millions from endorsements alone. Beckham and his wife Victoria Beckham are global celebrities and household names regardless if you follow sports or loved the Spice Girls.
Because of this crossover success, Beckham's signing with the LA Galaxy was considered a massive seal of approval for America's MLS, prompting global interest in the league and putting Beckham and the sport of soccer in the American spotlight.
Beckham, and the LA Galaxy, announced that the MLS Cup 2012 will be his last game via a statement on the team's website. According to the statement, over the six years Beckham has been a part of the LA Galaxy, MLS has grown to include seven more teams.
In addition to an expanded league, 15 of the 19 MLS teams have soccer-dedicated stadiums of their own. MLS also has television contracts with ESPN and NBC Sports. According to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, “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.”
The LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup 2011 against their 2012 opponents, the Houston Dynamo. According to Beckham, "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.”
Chances are Beckham will be looking at a new business venture with the LA Galaxy rather than a new uniform. In the statement, he 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."
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the LA Galaxy as well as several arenas including the Staples Center, said, “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.”
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