CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham's “commitment” to the LA Galaxy, MLS and to soccer in the United States will not diminish, even if he won't again take the field in a league game following next week's MLS Cup showdown with the Houston Dynamo.
That was the English star's message when he met with media Tuesday morning at the Home Depot Center, not quite 24 hours after announcing through the club that the Dec. 1 MLS Cup final would be his last competitive appearance for the Galaxy.
Beckham said he is not retiring as a player and will determine around New Year's the next stop in a glorious career that has taken him from Manchester United to Real Madrid to MLS, with brief loan stints at AC Milan, and included three World Cup appearances.
“I still feel that I have something left in me as a player,” said Beckham, noting that the decision to depart was completely his. “I still feel I have one more challenge in me as a player, even at 37 years old. I feel that I can still play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided. I have some exciting opportunities on the table, but right now my focus is on the final.
“Once that's out of the way, then we have a [postseason] tour to deal with, and then it's Christmas, which we always spend in London. So I'll be there, and I'll make a decision then.”
Beckham would not discuss the options, but media reports have Paris Saint-Germain, who a year ago offered him a reported 18-month, $18.7 million pact, and several Australian clubs vying for his services. He also could return home to England or head to Brazil, Italy, Russia, China or the Middle East.
He will not play elsewhere in MLS, he said, but “my commitment to the league six years ago stays the same. I still want to be part of this league, I still want to be ambassador for this sport in this country and around this country, and that continues. ... My commitment to the Galaxy doesn't change. My commitment to MLS doesn't change.”
He still plans to exercise his option to become an MLS club owner – AEG is seeking buyers for its sports properties, the Galaxy included, and Beckham said he'd “heard that; we'll see” – and promised “people will be aware [of his] commitment as an owner ... hopefully in the New Year and where that will be,” without offering specifics.
Beckham, who last January signed a one-year deal with a one-year mutual option, said he made his decision just before the MLS playoffs began in late October and figured it was time to inform the world once the Galaxy advanced Sunday night to their third MLS Cup title game in four years. Teammates did not find out until Friday's announcement, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and AEG president Tim Leiweke have known for a few weeks.
“I came to the decision solely because I felt that I achieved everything I wanted to achieve with the Galaxy on the field and off the field,” he said. “But on the field, to have been able to have played in – by the time next Saturday comes around – three finals in six years, to have been able to lift the championship last year in our own stadium, I felt I achieved everything I wanted to.
"Almost, because I want to win another championship before I go.”