David Beckham Isn’t Ready to Retire, But Maybe Ready to Leave LA Galaxy

Over the weekend, ESPN broke the story that LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham will reassess his future with the club in December.

According to the story, both player and club have the option to part-company at the end of the 2012 season. This story comes on the heels of Victoria Beckham’s foray into the fashion industry; which has led many to believe Golden Balls could leave the bright lights of LA for New York City and the Red Bulls.

Just as interesting, Beckham was apparently close to a deal away from Major League Soccer last January. A deal that would have taken the former England captain to Brazil and Botafogo. In the end Beckham re-signed with the Galaxy. However, at 37, Beckham maybe ready for one last move before calling it a career.

Whether that move is to New York or to another country, Beckham’s days in Southern California could be numbered.

There is no doubt Beckham has helped MLS, not only become a more attractive league to fans and players alike, but the quality of play has improved every year since 2007. Thanks in part to the league’s appeal being raised to quality foreign talent, and the improvement of North American players.

The Galaxy has seen their fortunes take off as well since Beckham’s arrival. Though the team didn’t make the playoffs for either of the midfielders’ first two seasons, LA has been the face of the league in recent years. Beckham helped the club to two straight Supporters’ Shield trophies in 2010 and 2011, and two MLS Cup Finals in three years. The club is likely to once again feature in the final this year and could tie DC United with most MLS Cup wins (four).

In the fast past world of soccer, where matches take place nearly all year around the world, it’s easy to forget what MLS was like pre-Golden Balls. And with a plethora of new fans – casual, hardcore and everywhere in between – that may not have a clue about MLS pre-2007. This was a man whom the league enacted a rule – designated player – to enable them bring him into the competition. Beckham’s time in MLS has been felt by everyone from fans to players.

The league’s profile was raised considerably thanks to Beckham’s signature and like Pele’s arrival in New York in 1975; many north of US-Mexican border sat up and took notice of a “European” game.  In 2006, MLS had a salary cap of a mere $1.9 million, and though it stands at $2.8 million this season, Beckham’s time in the league can be tied to increased wages for players.

Of course, Grant Wahl’s “The Beckham Experiment” chronicles the chaos that surrounded the Galaxy during that time. But without Beckham and the chaos, it could be argued MLS wouldn’t be the same league it is in 2012. Despite what critics of both LA and Beckham say, MLS needed David Beckham and perhaps it still does.

If the rumors are true and Beckham trades sunny LA for New York City, he may be the player that finally turns around the Red Bulls franchise. A continually underachieving club with money to spare may finally get that elusive first MLS trophy.

However, Beckham’s legacy in MLS could just as easily be tainted. The chaos that continues to be Red Bull New York may in fact be worse than the LA chaos overseen by Lalas in 2007 and 2008.

Regardless, Beckham has turned this league into one that matters to the people who count: North Americans.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @CalcioFarmer and read Drew’s work at MLSTalk and Forzaitalianfootball.com, where he covers Italy’s Genoa CFC. Drew also hosts the Forzaitalianfootball.com  weekly Club Focus podcastand writes his own personal football and travel blog at Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey.

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25 Responses to David Beckham Isn’t Ready to Retire, But Maybe Ready to Leave LA Galaxy

  1. Charles says:

    He is not going anywhere.

    He is going to disappear at some two bit team finishing 6th-12th in a joke league. No.

    He is LA and they are winning. He is just negotiating.
    Go ahead and post the LD to Everton post next. ” I really love Everton, I would love to play here again someday ” Maybe Keane too, if he is close to the contracts end. I didn’t put any names on my post, you can just copy and paste.

  2. The original Tom says:

    Charles- Beckham isn’t energetic or good enough to play in the EPL anymore, so, if that is what your insuating isn’t going to happen, you’re right. Now, he is still one of the better players to wach in MLS, so I’d be sorry to see him go.

    No more rumors regarding France? Like all players, Becks needs good players around him to look good, Keane and Donovan have been crucial. Then again, Becks and Henry together would be fun.

  3. Just Sayin' says:

    “Joke League”? Dude, give it a rest. There are plenty of worse leagues out there. And if you’re comparing MLS to Europe, those leagues are financial “jokes”.

    • Charles says:

      Just sayin….I call some of the most talented leagues the joke leagues, because the teams Becks could still play for have ZERO chance of winning.


      You don’t think you are overestimating about 1/2 of the EPL there ? After watching LD play/dominate there ?
      I am not a huge DB fan at all, overrated because he is not complete player anymore, but IF you think he couldn’t play on the bottom 10 or so, we will disagree on that one.

      Either way I predicted that players on the top teams that start to not play on the winning teams will come to MLS if given the choice of that or play for the auto loser teams. I will stick with that after already being proven correct.

      I predicted LD would not go to Everton and lose there. I was correct. Might have been alone on that one. The only way he does go now, is if the money is outrageous.

      Noone wants to play for the autolosers. They are forced to because the winning teams don’t want them. They have to for the money….oh yeah and to test themselves against the best.
      Becks is not in the catagory.

      • The original Tom says:

        Maybe Beckham could help someone escape relegation, but you’re right, he is not going joining that kind of team. Donovan is younger and helped Everton a few years ago. Everton this season has a real chance at making the top 4, so Donovan would not just “loose” there. I’m not sure if Donovan’s euro ship has sailed, or what is up with his career at this stage, but he is still fun to have in the league.

        • Charles says:

          Ship sailed ?
          Everton would take him back faster than the Sounders will put up 4 goals on LA Sunday.

          He doesn’t want to play there, I am surprised that very few agree with me at this point. Now if they do finish in the top 4….are they really in contention or just off to a fast start ?….that may change ( assuming Everton can afford him )

  4. David says:

    At this point I would hate to see Becks leave LA. I didn’t want to like him when he was flirting with other leagues (due to Capello’s interference) but the guy has definitely won me over as a fan the last few years. Beyond the profile that he has given to the club, he has shown himself to be a wonderful on-field leader for the Galaxy. Maybe I’m just wearing my fan glasses, but I would love to see him finish his career at a club where he is already a legend, rather than getting in one more stop before retirement.

    • The original Tom says:

      I agree, when the Rapids schedule comes out, the LA game is the first date I look for, because of Becks, Donovan, and Keane.

  5. Arik says:

    Maybe he’ll go play with the Atlanta Sillygorillas in the NASL.

  6. MC says:

    Beck’s to New York , just not Red Bulls , think he has ownership aspirations , maybe he’d be part of a syndicate putting up $500 million to purchase the 2nd NYC MLS franchise …. Brooklyn Stadium , named after his son.

  7. Hal says:

    I think Beckham had a positive impact on the league. However, he had very little impact in Los Angeles.

    Last year when La Galaxy played Houston in the MLS Cup Final it barely registered in the city. I was at a sports bar and the game wasn’t even on TV.

  8. Hal says:

    if MLS can’t get good TV ratings for the MLS Cup final with La Galaxy playing and it being Beckham’s last game then the league has to seriously consider drastic changes.

    I think the “eurosnobs” may outnumber the MLS fans.

    • Charles says:

      Asked this on the other site where you posted the EXACT same comment…Why ?

      MLS set record attendance and is making money. I already showed on this site that every team can afford their salaries…easily. The talent level of the league is skyrocketing. The league is growing and wants to grow faster.

      Why would they make drastic changes now ?

      • Hal says:

        MLS has always gotten good attendance. Clubs are not making a profit. That’s not true.

        The league is not growing faster.

        I guess you just live in an alternate reality.

        No one is watching these games on TV. MLS is not getting American soccer fans to watch. This should concern them.

        • Charles says:

          Let me guess you are for pro/rel or some other cause….and are a little bitter. Thus skewing your reality to match your hopes.

          My alternative reality added two teams last year…growing fast.

          Record attendance …growing fast.

          A record TV deal with more games on nat TV than ever…growing fast.

          Virtually every team has a multi million jersey deal, with only $3 million in salaries, that and shared Sounder money puts every team profitable….growing fast.

          The reality is MLS is doing very well and you don’t like it.

          • Hal says:

            i’m for pro/rel when it’s viable. When there is a stable D2 with SSS full of fans.

            That’s not that important right now though. Whats more important is that MLS start to cater more to the fans that want the league to be more like the rest of the world and less Americanized.

            The TV ratings are so poor. You can’t possibly argue that American soccer fans have accepted this league. It gets by on having fringe support.

            I’d love to be a fan of MLS but they have to do more to appeal to the traditional soccer fan.

            Not bitter at all. I’m a massive USMNt supporter and a stronger domestic league is better for our national side.

          • Charles says:

            The number one thing that MLS has done right is not changing for the traditional soccer fan.

            See Seattle for the perfect example..they wanted to have it call some Euro sounding name. When the fans over ran manangement and got the American name in place the fans responded. If they had gone after the FRINGE Euro fans I would be sitting at games with a bunch of whiners, crying over garbage like no ProReg, playoffs and salary caps.

            As it stands the games are very enjoyable with real soccer fans, not the casual Euro fans.

        • Alex says:

          you are living in another world. look, unless im wrong the only official financial numbers MLS has posted was back in 08 and only 2 teams (la and tfc) were making profit. everyone else was operating at a loss. Garbage garber said by 2010 a majority of teams would be in the black and two years later a majority of the teams are still in the red. this isnt the 60′s were ticket sales dictated profitability of the club. As for performance it has improved yes but there is always a ceiling and its much lower than it needs to be. Clubs cant buy their own players they have to ask papa MLS to buy for them and so far unless they are free agents or washed up has beens (who ironically are still better than a majority of “mlsers” as mls so cutely labels them) mls is buying 2 division players, the college draft and the adidas draft doesnt work. MLS throttles the quality to its liking. Ratings are not that good and with EPL and F1 coming to NBC sports that will only peg down MLS in the ratings. As fans start to become more educated about the sport they will soon realize that the MLS way of soccer is severely flawed. what league crowns a 5th or 6th place team as champion yet barely recognizes the actual champion? there are ways to make the league better even with playoffs like NASL in splitting the season and both champions face of in a home-away series final. how does it feel that your sounders are subsidizing the poor clubs like NER and Chivas USA? isnt it a concern that foreign clubs come here and sell out NFL stadiums but barely fill up a 25k stadium for an mls game? the fans arent stupid and it isnt ignorance people go for the better product. MLS is over regulating the sport and eventually its going to do nothing but hold them back. it already has. i think its wrong that we have to wait on the league to make changes, clubs should be independent and the league only regulate where and when it needs too. and pick a damn playoff format that works already i dont think we’ve had a champion with the same format back to back. its crazy this league is crazy

  9. Drew Farmer says:

    Unlike NFL, MLB and NBA that has stop/start plays, and people can watch for 3-4 hrs of their day by coming and going, MLS is quicker and is more of a “be in the stadium” league/sport in the US. MLS has its niche, the problems come when MLS is trying to reach people outside of this niche.

    • Alex says:

      i think MLS has the potential to become the top sport league in this country and one of the top in the world if it becomes consistent, puts performance over hype and actually allows competition instead of over regulating the game.

  10. Alex says:

    i think Beckham is growing tired of playing in MLS. im pretty sure he will be back as a manager or a owner of some club here he’s made no secret of it, but i see it in him he wants out. i think it would be fitting for him to go back to england. i would love to see him don the Man U kit once more that would be awesome to see. Scholes, ferdinand and beckham re-UNITED. lol see what i did there?

    • Charles says:

      Let me get this straight, you are quoting 2008 stats to show MLS is not profitable.

      You are saying the college draft is NOT working. Again NOT working.

      And Beckham could play for Man U again.

      YES, I am definitely in a different world from you.

      Thank God for that.

  11. Charles says:

    MLS Best XI:

    Bessler ( Notre Dame )
    Pontius ( UCSB )
    Wondo ( Chico State )
    Zuzi ( Maryland )

    4 out of the 5 Americans, LD being the exception, who started playing pro when he was around 16.

    I say there will be a huge influx of foreigners into the US colleges ballooning very quickly. It has happened in every other Olympic sport, this will be no exception.

  12. Charles says:

    Same article I read the Best XI from :

    ” -Since 2007, MLS has added seven franchises and 10 soccer
    stadiums, and the expansion fee jumped from $10 million for
    Toronto in 2007 to $40 million for Montreal last season.”

    And you really seriously think that MLS is going to change “leaving my world” to “join your world” ???

    I can see 5 more teams joining by 2017. 24 teams, most making money.

    Where do you see MLS 2017, Alex ?
    We can contrast it to Gerber’s state of the league.

    You lost Alex, it was a fun fight for you, you made fun of people watching MLS, belittled them and their league, but you lost. I think every prediction you made has been wrong.

    Robert moved on, probably making fun of the lacross league supporters now. You should too. Either that or do a more logical thing, support a great league while watching very good soccer. Finals Saturday, then the college Final Four after that.

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