CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham will end his tenure with the LA Galaxy on Dec. 1 with the 2012 MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo, but along the way, he’s had a significant impact on many players including Galaxy captain Landon Donovan.
Donovan and Beckham have been teammates on Galaxy since Beckham joined the team in the summer of 2007 and been through their share of interesting moments. Whether it was their rocky beginnings through Donovan’s comments in Grant Wahl’s book “The Beckham Experiment” or their embrace on the field after winning MLS Cup in 2011, the pair have been through plenty over their six seasons together.
Through it all, Donovan admits that the two players have learned that they are more alike than not.
“He would admit there’s been some hard times, certainly been some hard times for me, but through it all I think we all understand we all have some similar goals,” said Donovan. “Actually more similar than dissimilar, I think we’re all very proud to be part of what we’ve been a part of.
While it wasn’t always a smooth relationship between the pair, Donovan admits that he’s grown not just as a player, but as a person since Beckham arrived.
“[Beckham’s departure] doesn’t impact my personal future. But I’ve grown a lot. Forget about the soccer part. I’ve grown a lot as a person since he’s been here. I’ve watched him closely with all the things he does,” said Donovan. “His leadership ability, how he handles himself, it’s been an inspiration for me. We haven’t always gotten along, especially in the beginning, but he’s a good person. I think we’re all very happy for him that he’s ready to move on and do whatever comes next.”
I got a chance to speak to David Beckham in an exclusive interview for LAGalaxy.com.
Check out the interview below...
The fact that David Beckham will play his final game for the LA Galaxy at the 2012 MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo has created a wealth of buzz in the United States as well as the "other side of the pond" in the United Kingdom.
Check them out above.
Beckham's history of titles in his final seasons with Manchester United and Real Madrid, a good omen for LA?
David Beckham will play his final match for the LA Galaxy on Dec. 1 at the 2012 MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo, ending his six year run with the Galaxy that has seen him expotentially grow soccer in the United States and Canada.
That the Galaxy will play for a championship in Beckham's final match is fitting for anyone who has followed the 37-year-old Englishman's career.
In Beckham's final season with Manchester United in 2003, Beckham and United captured the Barclaycard Premiership title. Four years later, in his final season with Real Madrid, Los Blancos were crowned 2007 La Liga Champions. Could this mean that LA will win their fourth MLS Cup championship and second with Beckham on the team? Who knows.
While it remains to be seen if Beckham will once again close out his tenure with a championship, below is a photo of a Beckham of an earlier era when a teenage Beckham participated in the Dallas Cup youth tournament.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) November 20, 2012
It is an end of an era at The Home Depot Center as well as Major League Soccer as David Beckham will play his final game for the LA Galaxy at MLS Cup 2012.
To honor Beckham, MLSsoccer.com has created a video compliation of some of Beckham's greatest moments in MLS.
Below is MLSsoccer.com's tribute video to Beckham.
David Beckham will play his final game for the LA Galaxy at MLS Cup Final 2012, the club announced on Monday evening.
Beckham signed with the Galaxy in 2007 and has spent the last six seasons with LA. During his tenure, LA reached the MLS Cup Playoffs four times, reached the MLS Cup three times and won the trophy once in 2011. LA will play for back-to-back trophies on Dec. 1 when they take on the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center.
The Galaxy midfielder will be available to the media tomorrow.
"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 in a release. "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," Beckham added. "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."
Beckham, who made his first appearance for the LA Galaxy on July 21 in a World Football Challenge match with Chelsea will end his tenure with the Galaxy having seen expoential growth in MLS since he joined. Since Beckham signed with MLS in 2007, MLS has added seven expansion teams while seeing growth in attendance numbers as well as television contracts.
“When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived. 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.”
In the statement, President and CEO of AEG Tim Leiweke also addressed Beckham's departure.
“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 Leiweke in a statement. “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.”
What are your thoughts on the news? What is your favorite memory of Beckham?
Share your thoughts below
SEATTLE— It wasn’t the most likely of scenarios, in fact it was perhaps the most unlikely that The Home Depot Center would host the MLS Cup for the second straight year in a row, but after Sunday’s Conference Championship results, that is exactly what will take place.
With the final being hosted by the highest seed in the postseason, LA’s early season loll seemed to make it unlikely that The HDC would host the final. When the MLS Cup Playoffs began, only one scenario promised a Cup Final in Carson as the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed the Houston Dynamo needed to navigate the East while LA needed to advance through the Western Conference.
On Sunday, both teams had advanced past D.C. United and the Sounders respectively to set up a rematch of the 2011 MLS Cup between Houston and LA. The Galaxy defeated Houston 1-0 on that rainy night last November, but will take on the Dynamo this year at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 1.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, defender Todd Dunivant, midfielder David Beckham and forward Robbie Keane each discusses hosting the MLS Cup at The HDC below…
ARENA: “You know, we want some good weather, we want to be on a good field so we accomplished that and how we got to play better. We can’t complain now going into the final. We’ve had a lot of difficult games over the last month so hopefully over the next couple of weeks; we can get ourselves in the right kind of form for the final.”
DUNIVANT: “It’s crazy, the only that we were going to host is if fifth seeded Houston was going to go all the way through. Sure enough they did and that’s great. They’re a team that’s hot right now and hot teams in the playoffs are the teams that win and that’s why they’re in the final, they deserve to be in the final. We’re going to have our work cut out for us and it’s going to be a difficult game, but they’re certainly going to point to last year’s 1-0 game and look to rectify that and we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
BECKHAM: “It’s kind of amazing that we’re at home again; I still can’t get my head around it. It’s obviously nice, it’s good to be in front of our own fans and they’ll have a lot of fans like they did last year. It’s nice to play at home and it’s a lot easier than playing in another ground that we’re not used to, but it can also have it’s difficulties as well. We’ve got two weeks now to prepare so we’ll be ready.”
KEANE: “I don’t think anybody predicted this was going to happen. It’s amazing, in the same stands, in our stadium again. I think the chances at the start were very, very slim so listen, we’ll take it. Most important thing is we’re in the final. We didn’t pick where it’s going to be, we just have to keep winning games, and we’ve done that. Full credit to the players, it was a tough start of the season for everybody and we weren’t playing as well as that we know we can do. Football, as people always say, is a game of two halves, so the second half of the season we’ve been superb.”
SEATTLE -- The mood in the LA Galaxy locker room said it all after the club advanced to the MLS Cup by defeating Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference Championship 4-2 on aggregate -- LA may be in the final, but the job is by no means complete.
Below Bruce Arena discusses LA's advancement to MLS Cup, the play of Juninho, Robbie Keane's penalty and more
(On his general game impressions…)
ARENA: “Well we didn’t play particularly well tonight; there’s no question about that. We did what we came here to do, to advance into the MLS Cup finals, so that was achieved. Obviously the conditions were difficult, with the surface and the rain and Seattle played quite well, no question about that. Having said all that, we won this competition 4-2 and deserve to move forward. We’ve got a couple weeks to get ready for a real good team. Houston’s in terrific form right now, so it’s going to be a heck of a challenging final.”
(On whether he feels his team escaped…)
ARENA: “There were a lot of tense moments. No, I don’t feel we escaped anything. We won 4-2 on aggregate; what’s there to escape from?”
(On whether the penalty kick converted to a goal by Keane was a legitimate penalty…)
ARENA: “I didn’t see it, so I couldn’t tell you. But even if we don’t get the penalty, we still advance 3-2 then.”
(On Keane and on the performance of the two clubs…)
ARENA: “A game like tonight, you need someone to make a play. No question, we were not in good form tonight. We didn’t play particularly well. We couldn’t pass the ball. Seattle battled great. They competed hard and won a bunch of second balls and put us under a lot of pressure.
(On his thoughts on the Sounders…)
ARENA: “We prevailed. We knew it was going to be difficult coming in here, and it certainly was. I give our team credit for advancing, and certainly give Seattle a lot of credit. Sigi [Schmid] does a terrific job with this team and they can continue to be one of the premier franchises in the MLS.”
(On what Seattle did to make things difficult for his team…)
ARENA: “I just think that they could take a lot of risk. They’re a little bit more comfortable on this surface than we are, but they pressured us for every ball. They positioned themselves better and were much more aggressive for second balls. Basically, on the night, they outworked us.”
(On Marcelo Sarvas’ performance and on Juninho and Landon Donovan….)
“It was a solid performance. We really missed Juninho, and I thought Juninho did a terrific job in his 25 to 30 minutes – I don’t know exactly what he played – probably 25 minutes. He did a very good job. We wanted to be careful with him tonight, as we did with Landon [Donovan].
(On the first 20 minutes of the game…)
ARENA: “Yeah, we didn’t do well. We didn’t pass well tonight, we didn’t win second balls, and that was the difference. You know, you’ve got to give Seattle credit. They’re behind three goals and they’ve gotta lay it all on the line and be very aggressive and be a little bit risky, which they were with their line. And the conditions certainly helped, because it was a little bit difficult, passing the ball, and you could see our players are not fully confident on the surface, but that’s our problem, not theirs.”
(On what he said to his team after the game…)
ARENA: “I didn’t say a whole lot. We know we didn’t play particularly well. We knew it would be challenging, and the objective here was to advance to the MLS Cup Final and that was accomplished.”
(On his season and his team…)
ARENA: “It’s been a really challenging season and it’s taken a lot of character and talent to get where we are today. Not many teams would have positioned themselves… After 14 games, we basically conceded the Supporter Shield, 14 games into the season. The objective then was to get into the playoffs. We went on a run that was fabulous. Last 17 games of the season, we had 34 points. Thank god you guys aren’t smart enough to figure that out so we could kind of do it quietly and get ourselves going again. We’re back in the Final and hopefully we can have an improved performance from tonight because the team I saw play in DC today was a damn good team.”
(On LA getting a foothold after Seattle dominated the first 20 minutes…)
ARENA: “We got a few passes together which helped. We did a little bit better defensively. On the night, I thought Seattle’s aggressiveness was terrific and they put us on a lot of pressure over the 94 minutes of the game.”
(On whether it was the biggest test LA has had this year…)
ARENA: “I wouldn’t say that, they’re all tough games, but the two teams in the final beat a lot of good teams in the league so it should make for a terrific final.”
(On the parity in MLS…)
ARENA: “Obviously, a lot of people would have thought that the four and five seeds would reach the final, but I think that clearly the Galaxy in the west, we’re in an unbelievably difficult division, I think. It’s a lot of good teams and any are capable of advancing. And Houston, as we’ve seen over the last month or so has really come into great form and they have a really terrific team, it’s going to be a great final.”
The LA Galaxy weathered the storm posed by Seattle Sounders FC and will return to the MLS Cup for the third time in four seasons on Dec. 1 when they take on the Houston Dynamo.
As we continue to analyze Sunday night's 2-1 Seattle victory at CenturyLink Field, be sure to catch up on my Three Points of the game and as always leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.
For some more analysis of Sunday's game, check out Joe Tutino and Ralph Perez break down the game with their postgame analysis.
Lastly, MLSsoccer.com's editors Nick Firchau, Greg Lalas and Simon Borg reflect on Sunday's match in "ExtraTime After Hours." Watch that below...
Not only did the LA Galaxy advance to their third MLS Cup in four years by defeating Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference Championship, but LA also qualified 2013/2014 CONCACAF Champions League on Sunday.
The 2013/2014 edition of the tournament will be LA's fourth straight appearance in the continental competition. LA are currently in the Quarterfinals of the 2012/2013 tournament where they will face Costa Rican side Herediano.
Below is a list of MLS' American entrants for the 2013/2014 CCL and how they qualified...
LA Galaxy (MLS Cup Finalists)
Houston Dynamo (MLS Cup Finalsts)
San Jose Earthquakes (Supporters' Shield winners)
Sporting Kansas City (US Open Cup winners)