While Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy are preparing for this Sunday’s tilt with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., word has spread out that after winning league titles in four different countries (England, Spain, USA, France), David Beckham is finally retiring from football at the age of 38.
“The LA Galaxy would like to congratulate David Beckham on the completion of his 20-year career in the sport of soccer,” said Los Angeles Galaxy President Chris Klein in a statement on Wednesday. “His six seasons with the Galaxy saw the club reach unprecedented heights, highlighted by our back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2011 and 2012.
“David was a tremendous ambassador for our club and our league and it was an incredible honor in having him wear the Galaxy colors. We join the world in celebrating all of his achievements in the sport and look forward to continuing his relationship with our club.”
“Today is a day to celebrate David Beckham and the completion of his fabulous career,” said Arena on Thursday. “In addition to being such a great player, David is also a great personality, a great teammate, a great friend and family man. He is a person that you cannot replace, on the field or off and our club is in a better position for having him play for us in the six years that he did.”
“I think he’s the most famous athlete in the world,” Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl told the New York Times’;s Jere Longman and Sam Borden. “Beckham has a celebrity component the other guys don’t. There’s a multiplier effect. If you play the old game, ‘How many people on earth recognize this sports star?’ I think Beckham is recognized by more people than anyone else.”
“If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy,” Beckham told the BBC. “I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams.”
Back on the team front, Omar Gonzalez has been named to the USA Men’s National teamahead of the June FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, along with friendlies against Belgium and Germany. Here is the roster of players selected by Jurgen Klinsmann.
GOALKEEPERS (6): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby/Denmark), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg/Germany)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Michael Bradley (Roma/Italy), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor/Turkey), Stuart Holden (Bolton/England), Jermaine Jones (Schalke/Germany), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/Belgium), Brek Shea (Stoke City/England), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/Germany), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna/Austria), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur/England), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/Mexico), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
One player that will hope to make a statement on Sunday against the Red Bulls is midfielder Landon Donovan, who was on point as the Galaxy downed the Philadelphia Union, 4-1, on Wedneday.
“It always feels good to play well and tonight I felt like I was back to my old self,” Donovan told LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. “And always a goal is nice but I think just being aggressive and running at people, making a difference that way felt like the old me and it was nice to play that way again.”
But will Donovan be called to the USA Men’s National Team at some point this year?
“I am just trying to play well; I can’t control what else happens,” Donovan said of his prospects. “My job is to play well, I haven’t played well for a few weeks now and I want to use this and continue to play well. That’s all I can control.”