"One last challenge." That's what David Beckham has in mind after setting the world abuzz with the news that MLS Cup will be his final competitive game with the LA Galaxy.
"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said in a statement. "I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future."
After six seasons with the Galaxy, Beckham has a chance to exit the MLS stage with a fantasy ending, a second straight title won under the bright lights in LA. More than likely, it will be the final time American fans have the opportunity to witness a moment of magic from the MLS barnstormer, the man who inspired the DP rule and brought unprecedented attention to soccer on these shores (WATCH 2012 HIGHLIGHTS).
The American writer perhaps most qualified to comment on the development, which came as a shock to many considering Beckham had a contract option for next season, is likely Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, who documented the beginning of the global superstar's US stay in his New York Times bestseller The Beckham Experiment. Wahl says Beckham's stay was a mixed bag, but ultimately a rousing success for MLS. Fox Soccer's Leander Schaerlaekens chimed in on the matter as well.
For the Galaxy, the biggest challenge is the timing, less than two weeks before they host the Houston Dynamo in MLS Cup on December 1. Hear what the ExtraTime Radio guys had to say about how that could affect their title defense.
One thing is for sure, as the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter points out, Beckham leaves the Galaxy in a much different condition than he found them in when he arrived.
Meanwhile, the odds have already been set as clubs around the world jockey for the honor of having Beckham wear their colors. Predictably, the English tabloids couldn't resist an opportunity to stir the pot, with the Daily Mail and Mirror chiming in on the possibilities.
So far at least, the frontrunners seem to hail from Down Under, with mulitple Australian sides expressing their interest as soon as the news dropped Monday evening.
How serious are they? Just listen to what Central Coast Mariners owner Peter Turnbull had to say: "We're in the final process of putting a package together which we think will be very attractive for David Beckham and his family. We're putting it as an all-of-community proposal. We've got backing from John Singleton, prominent large businesses, potentially local government -- we're getting the whole region on board with this one.''
Melbourne Heart made their proposal public: $1.7 million for a 10-game guest appearance. Other clubs are taking a different tact. Brisbane Roar say they'll spend "Beckham money" elsewhere.
Will a move to Oz happen? Only Beckham truly knows, but it's worth remembering his handlers threw cold water on Australian rumors within the last week.
After landing a number of foreign stars in the past few months, Beckham would be quite the coup for the A-League. As The New York Times examines, there's no doubt his marketing and cultural potential is as strong as ever.
The strangest twist proposed by the rumor mill is almost certainly a move to SPL side Celtic, a possibility proposed by, of all people, Snoop Dogg, who is supposedly interested in investing in the club.
CORRECTION: D.C. United has not yet clinched Carolina Challenge Cup championship. I apologize for the confusion. #MLS— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012
Across the country, an Aussie star in MLS is eyeing a loan move to his former club. Tim Cahill made his desire clear, but will the New York Red Bulls accomdate him?
Speaking of New York, the NASL-bound Cosmos named their head coach on Monday. Former MetroStars forward Giovanni Savarese will lead the club, one with an uncertain but promising future. Can it live up to the hype, to the legacy it's name donotes? That will be a process, according to Savarese.
"It wasn't built overnight back then," he said. "It took time, it took years little by little to become what then we all know that brought players like Pelé, brought players like Beckenbauer and so forth. This is the same thing. It's going to take time for us to keep going. Maybe it's going to go a lot faster than in the past. Maybe we'll be a little bit different than what they had in the past."
Last, but certainly not least, Chicago's Austin Berry won the MLS Rookie of the Year award on Monday. Now, he's eyeing a call-up to Jurgen Klinsmann's US side.
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