CARSON, Calif. – With Landon Donovan away on national team duty, LA Galaxy players said they would have to collectively make up for his absence.
But only one player can step into the captain’s role and wear Donovan’s armband.
“Bruce has asked me to wear it,” David Beckham told MLSsoccer.com. “I’d be proud to wear it. I'm looking forward to that.”
Beckham will don the captain’s armband when the Galaxy visit Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Donovan was LA Galaxy captain in 2007 when Beckham arrived but quickly gave up the armband when the former England captain joined the club from Real Madrid. Donovan, though, regained the captaincy in 2009, when Beckham was away on loan with AC Milan at the start of the MLS campaign.
Arena said the decision to hand Beckham the armband was quite simple.
“He’s a logical choice and he’s worn the captain’s armband here before and probably in a couple of other places as well,” Arena said. “I don’t think it’s asking too much. It’s not too overwhelming for him.”
One of the areas in which the Galaxy have improved upon since missing the playoffs from 2006 through 2008 has been their leadership, players said. The team not only has more depth now in terms of talent but also has more leaders, from veterans such as Gregg Berhalter and Jovan Kirovski to others such as Todd Dunivant and Donovan Ricketts.
Adding veterans Juan Pablo Angel and Frankie Hejduk to the club only adds to the team’s leadership depth.
“It's important that we all lead on that day, but obviously I'll be wearing the armband,” Beckham said.
With the added pressure of having to guide the team, though, Beckham said his preparations won’t vary.
“It doesn’t change the way I play or the way I approach the game,” he said. “The armband is obviously something you're very proud to wear but you need more than one leader on the field. I'll be just approaching the game like normal.”