CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy players and coaches have long understood how important national pride has been for David Beckham.
When Beckham confirmed early Thursday that he would not be part of Great Britain’s team in the upcoming London Summer Olympics, the disappointment then was felt throughout the squad.
“The opportunity to play in an Olympics in your own country is really special,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan told reporters at training. “To have that taken from you is devastating, especially for a guy who has done so much for his sport in that country.”
Beckham has struggled to stay healthy at times during his Galaxy stay but that’s not likely the reason why Beckham was left off, according to Bruce Arena.
“David’s physically fine,” the Galaxy manager said. “He’s just getting better. Over the last two months he’s really started to come into form. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him physically.”
Entering Saturday’s match at San Jose (7pm ET, ESPN2, lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive), Beckham has two goals and five assists in 14 games this year in another standout campaign, despite the Galaxy’s slow start to the season.
“It would be easier to understand if he wasn’t playing well but I think anybody who has seen him play would say he deserves to be on the team,” Donovan said.
Beckham, who did not speak to the media after Thursday’s training session, missed out on a major competition via coach’s decision for the first time since his first international competition, the 1998 World Cup. Beckham was injured and unable to play in the 2010 World Cup but was previously a fixture for World Cup and European Championship squads for England.
“We probably all don’t agree with the decision,” Donovan said, “but that’s the way soccer is, always has been that way.”