CARSON, Calif. –The LA Galaxy had a special guest at training on Tuesday, a player that needs no introduction once you spot his iconic number 23 jersey on the field—David Beckham.
Beckham trained with the club on Tuesday less than four months since retiring from the game of soccer following an illustrious 20-year career that included consecutive MLS Cup victories with the Galaxy.
No, there won’t be any return to the field as Beckham has been in Southern California for much of the summer and was simply interested in re-joining his teammates for a brief session in the lead up to Saturday’s battle with the San Jose Earthquakes. That didn’t stop the Galaxy’s always affable head coach and general manager Bruce Arena from stirring the pot a little bit in jest.
“He’s on trial," Arena joked. "He's got to work on his crossing, on his passing a little bit. If he can get better in those areas, we would consider signing him.
“It was fun. He’s great. It brings a good karma to the group,” Arena continued, this time, sincerely. “It’s always wonderful to see David. It was great for the years that he was here and the fact that he still stays in touch is very important to our team and our organization.”
For many of the players, it was a chance to catch up with an old friend who helped lead the Galaxy to two straight MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and three MLS Cup final appearances in his six seasons with the Galaxy. After all, Beckham has established a “championship bond”—as defender Todd Dunivant said— with his LA teammates that was forged over the past two seasons that will never cease.
However, for the newer players, Beckham’s training appearance was met with excitement and no one was more excited than LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who had watched Beckham from afar throughout his career. Although the former English captain never took a shot on the Panamanian international, it was an experience that had Penedo absolutely giddy.
“I just stood watching him during training. He’s a player that I admire a lot and it was a great opportunity,” said Penedo, who joked about taking a picture with Beckham. “I wanted him to take a shot on me, but he was mainly distributing the ball today. If he had I would have been ready.”
Beckham’s days of taking free kicks and scoring remarkable goals are over, but Dunivant, who played with the now-38-year-old from 2009-12, believes that he’ll always be a part of the Galaxy’s storied history.
“To have him back at training and to have him at games is a great feeling because he’s still a part of [the Galaxy] and really bleeds this club,” said Dunivant. “He put a lot into this club and the time that he spent here meant a lot to him.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com