Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
David Beckham battles for the ball against the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Western Conference finals on November 18, 2012 in Seattle. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
When the LA Galaxy battle the Houston Dynamo for the MLS championship Saturday, superstar David Beckham will be playing in his last game with the Los Angeles team.
Midfielder David Beckham wore a bright blue knit cap at Thursday's Galaxy practice at the Home Depot Center in Carson. He warmed up with a few laps and sprints, then headed inside the sports complex to talk about his future plans.
“I’ve got some interesting and exciting options on the table," he said. "I’m very flattered by some of the options I’ve got,” Beckham added, though he did not drop any hints about his next move. But the 37 year-old made it clear he’s not hanging up his cleats anytime soon.
“I don’t know how many years left but I still feel like I can still play," Beckham said.
Beckham came to LA in 2007 with a $32.5 million contract in hand. He also brought his famous wife Victoria - former singer of the pop group ‘Spice Girls’ - and their kids.
“Initially there was some concern that he wasn’t as committed to the Galaxy and to major league soccer as he had been to other teams in the past,” said former team president and manager Alexi Lalas in the ESPN documentary “David Beckham’s LA Story.”
Lalas recalled how Beckham clashed at times with the team’s former captain, Landon Donovan. Their conflicts provided plenty of fodder for sports pundits.
“A lot has been made of it," added Lalas. “And the reality is that nobody was ever a good soccer player that didn’t have a good healthy ego. And we all at times, feel threatened.”
Beckham and Donovan eventually patched things up. But Galaxy fans questioned Beckham’s commitment after he left the team for half a season in 2009 to play in Italy. Beckham got into verbal confrontations with some fans.
At Thursday’s practice, Beckham recalled that tough moment.
“I’ve never been booed by my own fans with other clubs but I had that certain point here and I overcame that,” he said.
Beckham feels fans who resented his brief departure have come around, too.
“Even when I stop for gas in Carson, people come up to me and they know nothing about the game and they’re like, ‘we’re coming to your game this weekend,’" he said.
Long-time Galaxy public address announcer Joe Tutino said Beckham has taken American professional soccer to "a point where I think the league as well as the Galaxy are ready to take that next step forward. And you couldn’t do that without somebody like a David Beckham," someone who "transcends the sport...on a global level.”
After the Galaxy squares off against Houston in the championship game, Beckham says he’ll announce what he’ll do next. One possibility — he could end up as a Galaxy owner.
What’s already a done deal though is a trip home to England, so that his kids can perhaps kick the soccer ball around with their grandparents.