David Beckham To Leave L.A. Galaxy
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Nov 20, 2012 - 9:49:07 PM
LOS ANGELES—International celebrity David Beckham announced on Monday, November 19 that next month's Major League Soccer Cup final at the Home Depot Center will be his last competitive game with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the L.A. Galaxy," Beckham said in a statement. "However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career. 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."
Beckham left Europe for MLS six years ago which sparked a growth and international recognition for the league. The league has since added seven teams and has had average attendance pass that of the NBA and NHL since 2007. MLS games are now shown globally and Galaxy jerseys are among the best-selling worldwide.
"There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "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."
Beckham has also inspired a designated player rule in the league, now known as the Beckham Rule, which allows teams to sign as many as three players and their contracts are partially counted against the league's small salary cap.
Beckham's five-year contract was worth $32.5 million and made him worth more than the entire roster of any other MLS team. The 37-year-old scored a career-high of seven goals while playing for the Galaxy, yet missed seven games to injury or suspension.
It was reported that Beckham was to retire after the Galaxy's MLS Cup title last fall which gained him domestic championships in three leagues. However, he came back to the team in what was allegedly an attempt to gain a spot on Britain's team for the London Olympics this previous summer.
Beckham's decision coincides with the league's attempt to bring in a player who will bring in more Latino viewers. Last year the team signed the television rights to games in English and Spanish to Time Warner Cable for a league-record of $55 million. It is rumored that Brazilian player Kaka has expressed interest in the league.
"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 chief executive of AEG, the Galaxy's parent company. "It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours."
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