LOS ANGELES – During his first public appearance since officially rejoining the LA Galaxy, David Beckham said his family was the driving force behind his decision to remain part of the MLS Cup 2011 championship club.
Then, he spent time with his other family.
Beckham made a surprise appearance at an invite-only event – attended by MLSsoccer.com – at ESPN Zone, across the street from Staples Center where earlier festivities had taken place. A crowd of around 70 fans – many of them season-ticket holders – gathered and spent time with Beckham.
And while their meetings aren't usually in such an intimate setting, spending time in one another's company was something Beckham too had in mind when weighing his options for the future.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to come back here [was to] play for you,” Beckham said. “We can't win championships without the support of you guys.”
Those in attendance, who cheered and clapped enthusiastically throughout the hour-long event, were just a tiny percentage the support that turns out for Beckham and his teammates, and Beckham said their presence at The Home Depot Center makes a difference.
“Without their support, we wouldn’t have won some of the games we won last year, it’s as simple as that,” Beckham said. “In the cup final, in the regular season, you turned out to see us week in and week out.”
Head coach Bruce Arena, who was also in attendance and like Beckham fielded questions from the gathered audience, took pride in the atmosphere and ambience that has been created at Home Depot Center.
“We didn’t lose a single game at home in 2011,” Arena proclaimed amidst thunderous applause.
While it was a bit of a change from when he first arrived in July 2007 to a crowd of some 5,000 fans and several hundred media outlets, Beckham nonetheless continues to transcend the sport.
Still, his role within the club is not lost, he told his supporters.
“Of course, being an ambassador of the league, being an ambassador of the game here is obviously important, but I’m a soccer player at the end of the day,” Beckham said. “I would never sign for any club with any other agenda than to win a championship.”
“To win a championship was special,” he said of the club’s MLS Cup run from last season. “I’ve never been able to walk into the locker room as a champion. This year I’m going to do it.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.