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David Beckham ended his five-year stint in America’s pro soccer league in style Saturday as his team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, won the MLS Cup.

Storming back from a deficit, the Galaxy scored three second-half goals — two of them on penalty kicks — to beat the Houston Dynamo by a 3-1 score. It marked the second straight year Los Angeles not only won the league championship, but did so by beating Houston.

Dispelling notions about Los Angeles’ soccer fans being laid back, many of the roughly 30,000 at Saturday’s game at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, erupted after goals from Omar Gonzalez, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

They interrupted their cheers with colorful chants and songs, including one by the exuberant Riot Squad fan club toasting the home team’s outgoing midfielder by singing “One David Beckham” to the tune of “Guantanamera.”

 

david beckham

david beckham

 

Beckham seeking one last challenge

More spry than he was during last year’s title game when he was hampered by a hamstring injury, Beckham was very involved in play all game long and was part in several near misses, though he didn’t factor into any goals.

Fans thanked him with a thunderous ovation as he left the pitch, on a substitution, late in the game.

“I’m 37 and I’ve been able to play in quite a few finals and championship games, and I still love it like I did when I won my first,” Beckham told reporters after the game.

 

Did Beckham’s U.S. project succeed?

Asked about his stint with the Galaxy, he said he hoped people had enjoyed watching him play and that he’d brought “a bit of interest to the game.”

“I just want to thank everyone over the U.S. and around the game for the support that I’ve had over the years,” Beckham said.

Beckham had a stand-out career playing for Manchester United and Real Madrid, and captained the England national team when he joined the Galaxy — and helped raise Major League Soccer’s profile in the United States and beyond — in 2007.

Nearly two weeks ago, team officials announced that the Englishman would no longer play for the Galaxy or any other MLS team after Saturday’s contest. The move came ten months after Beckham signed a reported two-year contract with the squad, rebuffing a number of offers from leading European clubs.

The November statement gave no indication where he was headed, but in a statement released by the team, Beckham said he “wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.”

“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,” he added.

Beckham has been a global icon of the sport for years, inspiring the 2002 movie “Bend It Like Beckham.” A UNICEF ambassador, he’s also been a hot item off the field as a model and as husband of former Spice Girls singer and fashionista Victoria Beckham.

 

(Source: CNN, CNN’s Paul Vercammen reported from California. CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed to this report.)

 

Galaxy star says he’s not ready to retire, won’t elaborate.

David Beckham will announce the next stop in his soccer career near the end of the year. Until then, he’s focusing on winning one more trophy with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham said Tuesday he has several “exciting opportunities on the table” to continue playing after he leaves the Galaxy next month, capping a six-season U.S. career with Los Angeles’ second straight appearance in the MLS Cup on Dec. 1.

“I still feel that I have something left in me as a player,” Beckham said at the Galaxy’s training complex. “I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player. Even at 37 years old, I still can play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven’t decided.

“Right now my focus is on the final,” he added. “Once that’s out of the way, we have an (exhibition) tour to deal with, and then it’s Christmas, which we always spend in London, so I’ll be there and I’ll make the decision then.”

The English midfielder wasn’t specific about where he might end up next, deflecting questions about every destination from Australia and China to France and Britain. While discussing his future in the most oblique terms, Beckham only confirmed he won’t move to New York or any other MLS team.

“There are options, and I’m very lucky at my age to have options,” Beckham said. “People have talked about my retirement, people have mentioned will I retire, and I actually don’t feel I’m ready to retire yet.”

After two strong MLS seasons largely free from major injuries, Beckham says he’s leaving Los Angeles only because he reached every goal he set for himself in his landmark move stateside in 2007. He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy last January after completing his initial five-year deal, but revealed the second year of his deal was a mutual option.
From Greg Beacham| The Associated Press


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