LOS ANGELES – LA Galaxy supporters received a few more clues on Thursday as to whether star midfielder David Beckham will return for another season at The Home Depot Center after his contract expires in December.
First, Beckham made it clear during a press conference that winning an MLS Cup title on Sunday (9 pm ET on ESPN, Galavision and TSN2) would not factor in the final decision on his future, which he indicated would only come after the championship match, “once I get a bit of rest and see where I am.”
“I’ve always said it’s down to how I feel physically,” Beckham told the media gathering. “My No. 1 priority always is my family and are they happy. We love living here [in LA] and we‘ve loved living here for five years and we continue to love that part of it. But it will be down to how I feel physically. I’m 36 years old, but I still love the game like I was 21 years old.”
Although Beckham missed practice on Thursday in a “precautious” move – LA manager Bruce Arena said the Englishman had a cold – the Englishman says that overall he’s “feeling good.”
During the press event, he made multiple references to his family’s experience of life in Los Angeles, telling the story of running into actor Al Pacino at a stop sign while on an early morning breakfast run. He called the moment “surreal.”
“There are moments like that have been amazing,” Beckham said. “We’ve lived a pretty normal life. There have been moments we’ve sat back as a family and looked at how lucky we are.”
Beckham’s luck extends to having Arena as head coach in LA. He credits the legendary American coach with bringing much-needed stability that has resulted in on-field success for the Galaxy. Beckham reserved high praise for his MLS manager for making the past three seasons the best of his five-year stay.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have played under some of the best coaches in the game and Bruce is definitely up there,” he said. “My experience especially in the last three years has been amazing. … It's gone by very quickly. To look back and see I’m in my fifth year already. It’s gone really quick.”
Although Beckham admitted that “it’s only the last year or two that I’ve started to understand the [MLS] playoff system,” he says the growth of the league during his time in MLS has “surprised” him. He cited the TV deals, the new stadiums, the expansion teams and the growth of the academy structure as the telltale signs of the progress.
Despite the off-the-field watermarks, many believe Beckham needs a league title on Sunday to leave a lasting mark on the league, but the midfielder doesn’t see it that way.
“Of course I want to win the Cup on Sunday," he said, "but it’s more important for the club that we win the cup on Sunday than myself.”