Why David Beckham Should Be in L.A. Right Now

I remember when David Beckham announced he was leaving Real Madrid not to somewhere in Europe but to MLS. Instant speculation from both fans and pundits alike cited the money as the deciding factor for his move, after all, why go to the league when you have offers from Europe’s elite?

In his presentation press conference with Alexi Lalas, Beckham discussed his motivation, to help further soccer in the U.S. and develop MLS. Now despite what you think about Beckham’s claims he deserved a chance to prove his words and become an asset to the league off the pitch. The issue is, I really fail to see how he’s done that.

Yes he’s appeared on talk shows like Ellen and Jay Leno and talked soccer but it’s always been as ‘David Beckham’ not ‘L.A. Galaxy’s David Beckham’. On the pitch he’s performed as he’s always done. He’s scored some of his trademark freekicks and an impressive half field goal. It wasn’t quite like the one he scored against Wimbledon all those years back but it was good nonetheless.

However the fact right now that he’s at Tottenham Hotspurs instead of L.A. Galaxy’s training camp is exactly what’s wrong with this move. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. In January 2009 he moved to AC Milan on loan. Like Tottenham this move was supposedly aimed at keeping Beckham’s fitness up but when his deal was extended to July meaning he’d miss the opening few months of the American season. The club’s fans were rightly annoyed. L.A. come first whether Beckham likes it or not. If it’s true that he regrets his move then he should hand in a transfer request.

When he finally made his return he received a fan backlash and the pressure told after a man seen as coolness personified snapped and confronted a fan in the crowd. This may have sparked the breaking point for Beckham because no sooner than the season had finished he was lining up a return to Milan in January.

The sad thing throughout this was he was rarely criticized for it. If anything, he was praised for wanting to play football, many ignoring the fact he regularly put Galaxy to the bottom of his priorities. It had stopped being about MLS and Galaxy. Beckham was putting number one first. With the World Cup approaching he wanted to play in his fourth consecutive competition but that dream was destroyed when he tore his achilles rather innocuously during a home game against Chievo Verona.

What was more surprising was the fact that all the media outlets focused on the fact he would miss the World Cup. There was no mention that for the second season in a row he would miss a considerable portion of MLS’s calendar. Now with a considerable layoff you would expect him to be using this time to promote the league right? Wrong, instead we saw a Sharpie commercial starring Beckham before he took up a motivational position on England’s bench in South Africa.

When his achilles finally healed he was able to return for the Galaxy in September of 2010. Despite a slow start to his return he would go onto score in the Supporter’s Shield. The season finished and with it began speculation of where Beckham would spend January. What came next was essentially Beckham talking to half a dozen EPL clubs over a short term loan that whiffed of desperation.

He eventually ended up at Tottenham but not as a player despite the club’s best efforts. He was purely training with them during MLS off-season. Tim Leiweke, the president of AEG, said they had vetoed a loan move purely because they wanted Beckham to play a full MLS season.

Depending how you read the president’s comments it could suggest this season will be Beckham’s last. His MLS contract expires at the end of this season and it would seem he feels the American experiment is very much over. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has also made suggestions he would consider signing Beckham once his Galaxy deal expires.

That’s why if this is Beckham’s last season in L.A. he should have given his full commitment from day one and been at that training camp and in the US from January promoting the league. Not because it’s the right thing to do but because he owes it to the club and it’s fans to act like a professional. Instead it would appear that Beckham has decided to look after what he considers most important, himself.

48 thoughts on “Why David Beckham Should Be in L.A. Right Now”

    1. he meant the game that won Galaxy the supporters shield. you know the legit championship? not the kiddie western conference final (aka the semi final in the real world)

  1. Honestly, I’ll be glad to see him go. His presence in MLS was a marketing ploy from the beginning, and the league has grown enough to where we won’t need him any longer. In the end, would he help put a few more fans in the seats? Possibly. But MLS will look less of a mickey-mouse organization if they can stop trying to center part of their marketing and actions around somebody who clearly doesn’t care.

    1. i agree MLS should stop being a Mickey mouse organization and start focusing on improving quality and move towards making the league stable enough to start removing the training wheels. Beckham gave us the “beckham bump” needed to generate enough publicity about the league to make the league alittle more known around the world and domestically as well although i agree with the article it was mainly about beckaham and not galaxy the club. i mean the guy even had a tv show in the UK about soccer (ironically called soccer america or something like that). of course they made jokes about our league and talked crap and it revolved around beckhams progress in the states but it did generate interest among the british. plus the publicity we got from MLS vs AC Milan (even though i hate garber the headlines of europe stating MLS standing their ground made me alittle proud about our league, then garber spoke lol) protraited MLS as a serious league not to be pushed around by big clubs. but MLS is not TMZ, MLS is a soccer league and should focus about the sport and not how many seats they can fill or who can they sign to sell shirts (and frankly they are horrible at keeping secrets. remember henry?). Win and they will come. to me im starting to see MLS turn into a mickey/WWE type deal and i dont want that (but charles does……….)

  2. I agree with the premise of your article and your backup explanation of it, however my counter argument lies in your statement “Beckham was putting number one first.”

    My response is who should he be looking out for? I know your upset with the fact that he said he will try to further soccer in the US and help develop the MLS, but I can’t be mad at him because he’s not American, why should he really care about that goal? Maybe David Beckham decided that his elite career was not over, maybe his fitness at his older age has surprised him and he realized he could play in another World Cup. So I don’t fault him for looking out for himself because he wanted to play football at a higher level and make it in Capello’s squad, and that wasn’t going to happen unless he was getting games in Europe.

    I understand the disappointment from the fans, I would be mad as well. But as an outsider I can’t fault David Beckham for looking out for number one, himself.

    On another note, I think he’s played very well and has done a great deal for the league and the Galaxy, but yet I’m not sure what else he could do. He can’t help the way the media has or has not portrayed his career in the MLS. I mean, Sportscenter rarely even shows MLS highlights or interviews even it’s biggest stars such as Beckham, Donovan, and Thierry Henry. I don’t know what else he could do for the league besides playing well on the pitch. He can’t help that ESPN doesn’t pick up on the sport and that we live in a TMZ world where his personal life is more important.

    1. Ok, then maybe he should have just cut ties with the Galaxy and MLS then. It’s not us LA fans hearing things and making things up. He, himself, said that the Galaxy was a main priority to him and that he wanted to help the growth of soccer in America. Why say those things and not back it up? Donovan has said those things too and he has proved time and time again that he truly cares for the Galaxy and soccer in America. I don’t think anyone faults Beckham for looking out for himself, but then leave the Galaxy and move back to England and play in EPL then. Why should LA pay his salary to have him train with Tottenham, miss half the season, and not show an ounce of respect to the team and their fans?

  3. I see your point Jake and I speak as a fellow Englishman.

    I think Beckham shouldn’t have made the mission statement he did if he wasn’t willing to follow it through for the full five years. Like I said if he want’s to play top league football put a transfer request in.

    I’d also say that the fact the third season in a row he’s not at Galaxy from day one is just a big slap in the fact to MLS and to the fans. You can’t have it both ways picking up a big cheque and then jogging off to Europe for a few months before finishing up the US calender.

    As I said in the conclusion, given all that’s gone previous, it would have been nice to see unquestionable commitment from him in his last season.

    Thanks for the comments though, I love a good football debate!

    1. I dunno Kris, I think you’re overreacting a bit.

      It’s pretty common for some players (especially older veterans) to join training camp late. Becks isn’t doing anything completely out of the ordinary.

      I’m gonna give golden balls a pass until the season opener. Then we can really see if he’s committed or not.

    2. You’re forgetting that as the highest paid player in league history, by legions, Beckham is held to a different standard and rightly so.

      And also it is very rare for older veterans to try to loan themselves out in mid season and to show up to training late from another teams camp. Beckham is a garbage person when you look at how guys like Henry respect the league.

    3. Great article, Kris. I couldn’t agree more.

      I’m not a Galaxy fan, but have been troubled by Beckham’s behavior toward both the Galaxy fans and MLS in general. If he doesn’t want to play here, he should negotiate a buyout or find some other way to extricate himself.

      I appreciate the positive, albeit minor, effect his move to MLS has had. But MLS does not need him at this point and doesn’t deserve the disrespect.

  4. Wow.

    Just wow.

    Before Beckham, no self-respecting European pro would even consider the MLS. After Beckham, there is a parade of European players still in their prime coming to the MLS.

    Additionally, even at his advanced age, no one, NO ONE, in MLS can create opportunities like Beckham can. His passing and service are heads above everyone else (no pun intended).

    Beckham is Beckham, a guy who plays his ass off every time he’s on the pitch.

    1. @Eddie

      please watch non LA Galaxy matches so you can see other players OTHER PLAYERS who can create opportunities much better than Beckham.

    2. “After Beckham, there is a parade of European players still in their prime coming to the MLS.”

      really? name one.

      Most european players that came here either came here to jumpstart their career or because MLS was a last resort they didnt come wanting to play here. iagree with the fact that Beckham helped give way to the DP rule (a gateway to de-centralizing and opening up the league alittle) and he did speak “highly” about the league to fellow stars. we all know he was paid for that but it did work we got blanco, Ljunberg (say what you want about him) Marquez, Henry, Schelotto, Angel all the them good stars but certaintly not in their prime. we all know they came here to burn their last fuse. (apparently Mourinho wants to burn his last fuse in 15 years with either LA or “NY”. he dreams of a house in malibu or manhattan. thats what he really wants while getting a healthy check from mr.garber)

    3. After Beckham, there is a parade of European players still in their prime coming to the MLS
      Really? I can’t think of a single top European player who has come to MLS “in their prime”. Henry is probably as close as it gets, but even then he is way past his best.

    4. Even if was true that guys in their prime are coming to MLS.
      It is not, but even if it was, so what ?

      He showed guys they could get overpaid in MLS ?
      He showed guys they didn’t need to play for the losers in their leagues ?

      Yeah, they would have never figured that out themselves.

      1. Yeah, they would have never figured that out themselves.

        Well given that there is no “parade” of European stars heading for MLS in their prime, then yeah, it seems like they haven’t figured out that they could get overpaid in MLS or that “they don’t have to play for the losers in their leagues”.

      2. “It is not, but even if it was, so what ?
        He showed guys they could get overpaid in MLS ?
        He showed guys they didn’t need to play for the losers in their leagues ?”

        so what? so what?! charles you crack me up really you do. im guessing you’re a casual fan. do you really prefer a prancing soccer diva with the only intention of collecting a paycheck and the only reason signed is to sell shirts and tickets? oh yea Beckham did show that grandpas can get overpaid in MLS alright, but those players treat mls as a vacation spot rather than a viable league. dont believe me? lets see umm beckham went to LA, Henry went to his favorite city in the world (or 15 miles or so away from it), Robert Pires refused to come to Philadelphia despite DP money on the table because Philadelphia wasnt a “beautiful city”. Mourihno says he someday wants to have a house in cali or NYC before he thinks about coaching here. you play for the club, not for the views of the city or a paycheck (although that is their day job). and with only 3 dp slots, a backwards league regulations, and only a few “desirable” cities even old hasbeens are thinking twice before coming here.

        and beckham showed they didnt have to play for losers in their league? mls isnt exactly a winning league. since the DP rule started there has been no club who has won the “cup” with a star DP (if you regard MLS cup as the champions. and no mls club has won the CCL yet. real people would call it the Supporters Shield which in that case beckham won it with Galaxy two years in a row and Schelloto was signed as a DP after they won the “cup” in 08 so techincally he doesnt count). so by your definition ljunberg, beckham, angel, blanco, henry, marquez and all the other dps left their “loser” clubs to play for another “loser” club. ljunberg and castillio figured it out themselves, then left. Charles, your backwards.

        1. Alex,

          I am not a casual fan.
          Don’t try to diminish my opinion by calling me that.
          I have been coaching, playing and watching soccer for longer than you have been alive.
          I have an FC Seattle banner in my garage.
          You know how many people can say that ? At most 100, because there is no way in heck there were that many supporting the NASL Sounders after the league folded.

          You lose, so now YOUR opinion is diminished.
          Go back to rooting for your top leagues and quit calling MLS a loser league, Casual Alex.

        2. And Ljungberg didn’t LEAVE, he was benched and no one would sign him because he sucks.
          I know because unlike the casual fan (you) I watched him play in Seattle and Chicago.

          Stop being a casual fan and you will know what you are talking about.

  5. In the words of one of my favorite SNL skits, buh bye, buh bye now. You don’t want to be here and se all can see it.

  6. Jake and Eddie, Beckham signed a contract to play for Los Angeles. He isn’t under contract to the England national team. He isn’t under contract to AC Milan or Totenham Hotspur. He is under contract to play soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy— the same as Sean Franklin, AJ DeLaGarza, Mike Magee, etc.— but unlike his teammates, Beckham spends most of his time trying to play everywhere BUT Los Angeles.

    1. Actually most of Beckham’s pay packet is from Adidas; not a coincidence that he’s been at Adidas clubs since (Real, Galaxy, Milan). I think LA pay a small fraction of Beckam’s compensation, and loan deals usually require the loanee club to pick up wages, insurance costs. etc.

      The fact is, in world soccer, high demand players have huge power to dictate where they play. This is obviously very difference from the closed, American sports business model.

      1. “The fact is, in world soccer, high demand players have huge power to dictate where they play. This is obviously very difference from the closed, American sports business model.”

        Tell that to Lebron James.

        1. LeBron was a free agent. In world football, elite players are rarely “out of contract” because long term contracts increase their transfer value. Many elite players can move almost at will even when under long term contract (see Torres to Chelsea with 3 yrs left on his contract).

  7. I agree with both sides here. I don’t quite understand the anger and cynicism regarding Beckham. In the very worst season the Galaxy had with him, he and Donovan combined for what was statistically the most lethal attacking force in the entire league. He made this a safe destination for foreign players, made the Galaxy profitable, and made them a globally recognized team. Give credit where it is due.

    Yet, I can’t help but question why he is staying in Tottenham an extra couple of weeks. As I wrote on the offside blog (http://me.lt/9A8HY), I hope that it doesn’t mean much, but I can’t help but think it is a sign that his heart may not be in it.

    1. He’s training with Spurs because he wants to be in the best form possible when the season starts. That is simply not possible given the antiquated training at most MLS clubs, and the ridiculous restrictions MLS places on nature of, amount of training, etc. I’ve heard firsthand from an MLS player with years of experience playing in Europe, the level of training is very subpar in MLS and it’s impossible for a top class international player like Beckham with aspirations (however misguided) to play for a top national team to maintain that level while playing/training in MLS.

      1. The only problem with your argument is that he’s done this two times before. The first time he went back on his word and didn’t come back until July. The second time, after not having an offseason for 2.5 years, the 35 year old got injured, and couldn’t play until September. The Galaxy’s season ended on October 31st. So it’s hard to believe that he’s going there solely for training purposes. Let’s not forget that he and his handlers basically took over the team and ran it to the ground in 2008.


  8. David, you silly little boy……… once again, your legacy is diminishing. LA Galaxy Fans DON’T DESERVE THIS!!!! The sooner you leave the better. You stinker.

  9. I could not agree more with this article. For all the benefits Beckham has brought to MLS, this sideshow of him training longer and longer and asking for loans is getting annoying. The question is, are the Galaxy better off without him?

  10. Why doesn’t he just hand in his transfer request? Most likely because the leagues is so backward that there isn’t such a thing.

  11. Beckham should go if he wants to do so. It appears that he does. The league will be fine without him. Clearly, he has contributed much to MLS. But if he thinks he made a mistake the Galaxy shouldn’t keep him around. Good luck to him.

  12. Beckham doesn’t owe MLS sh*t. Beckham was brought to MLS as a marketing gimic and not to bring Galaxy another mls cup. MLS should sack-up and either fine him for not being with the franchise or sell his rights to Hotspur. MLS is looking like little bitches in this situation.

  13. Hi mate…best regards from Italy, i’m Richard, a soccer reporter in rome. First of all i would say that you have a so nice blog….then why don’t we make an exchange of links? visit mine and let me know if you like it…you find me on Twitter and facebook…have a good day and thanks again STADIO GOAL (http://stadiogoal.com) p.s. I follow you on twitter, i hope you’ll do the same for me…thanks mate

  14. I think this is right on the mark. He should be with the Galaxy training. It is surprising that AEG is willing to put up with the back-and-forth, the posturing, etc. He reminds me of a child who asks and asks and asks to use the scissors after he was told he couldn’t because he cut holes in his best shirt.

  15. Beckham made a huge error in judgment by coming the US when he did (2006). He assumed that his England career was over (thanks to McLaren), so he had nothing to lose by coming over here. I think if he had known that his exile from the England team was going to be relatively brief, he would have stayed in Europe for another few years before coming here (maybe AFTER the 2010 WC would have been a smarter hypothetical move).

    However, once he had signed up with the Galaxy I think he’s acted terribly by messing them around the way he has. He should either give them 100%, or he should have sorted out a transfer back to Europe years ago.

    1. No he didn’t make an error, he raked it in. He will buy an MLS franchise for $20 million. That alone made it worth it.

      His pipedream of being capped more than anyone else in England is just that. England is sub great, but he is in no danger of playing for them.
      LA has to be thinking, how do we get rid of him, except for one thing, he doesn’t want to go. He needs his full contract played out to make another $30 million off of it.

      The Beckham experiment failed.

      1. Sure he made a lot of money. But from a playing point of view, he made a mistake. Otherwise why else would he be offering himself to AC Milan and Spurs at every opportunity?

        I’m not his accountant or bank manager, so I can’t say for certain whether he’s benefited financially from joining LA Galaxy in 2006 rather than joining someone like Milan or whatever other offers he might have had. I imagine he could have played for Milan for 4 years, been paid handsomely, and STILL have received a bumper pay day from LA Galaxy by joining them in 2010 or whenever.

        Anyway, that’s all hypothetical, but it’s just my best guess at what might have been.

        As for him being no-where near the England team right now, you’re probably (hopefully) right. But that’s not really relevant to what I was talking about. I was talking about the fact that McLaren dumped him in 2006 and it looked like the end of the road. Instead, he returned to being a pretty regular fixture in the squad for another 3 years. If he’d have known there was a chance of that, I believe he would have stayed in Europe.

  16. I’m not sure why anyone thought he was moving here to further US soccer, no matter what he said. Clearly he moved to LOS ANGELES because his wife wanted to further her “career” while Beckham’s seemed to be slowing down. Turns out Beckham was still pretty good for his age, while Sporty Spice or whichever one she is, wasn’t.

  17. Don’t you all realize what’s really going on here … Becks is doing this to unite American soccer fans under a common enemy. (Sarcasm)

  18. Don’t you all understand what’s really going on here … Beckham is trying to unite all American soccer fans under a common enemy. (ROFLMAO)

  19. The deal that should have been made was Beckham for Giovanni Dos Santos. Give Gio Beck’s DP slot (at a lower salary) and, um, maybe bring in Gio’s younger brother Jonathan as a non-DP for a season-long loan (Jonathan is with Barcelona B).

  20. It seems to me Beckham is a little conflicted. He knows his family and him are way better off living in SoCal rather than living in North London. I’ll bet his kids are already use the lifestyle here. No young kid from this country would want to move back, especially from LA, to some “foreign” land. Also I think he wants retire here and begin franchise rights to a new team. And then, Beckham knows he’s better off doing his job “properly” back in Europe so he might* make it to 2014. What should he do? That’s why he’s this on/off, hot/cold feeling when it comes to choosing sides.

    Personally, he should just leave and go play back Europe. No conflicting lifestyle should be the reason for erratic business decisions. Pick one or the other: Do you want to expire your remaining playing career in a laid-back, relaxed state of LA or do you want to reboot yourself and continue playing in the A-list Europe? Pick one or the other….can’t have both.

    A DP like Ricardo Quaresma would be a better replacement candidate. His career has been demoted to playing in Turkey. The Portuguese National teams doesn’t want him other than for a few Frienndlies. I’m pretty sure Quaresma would revive a much more modest salary compared than he gets on Turkey. The only thing left is if he says yes.

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