David Beckham gave the LA Galaxy six years, three Western Conference championships, two Supporter's Shields, and one MLS Cup (so far), and now LA Galaxy fans will have to say goodbye as Beckham declare MLS Cup 2012 will be his last match with the club.
"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy," said Beckham, "however, I 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."
The quote makes it sound like he's looking for a challenge outside of MLS, and there are any number of options where that could be. The Australian federation released a statement earlier in the month saying they had been contacted by the Beckham camp, and he's been linked in the upmarket tabloids with New York Red Bulls, but it can't be forgotten how much Paris-St. Germain wanted the midfielder in the offseason negotiating season.
This also means that for the first time since bringing in Juan Pablo Angel in 2011 that the LA Galaxy have an open DP slot. Frank Lampard has been linked to the Galaxy a few times over the last year or so, but there's also the possibility the Galaxy could simply save the money they'd have to pay to buy the third DP slot or go after a young DP.
"Seldom does an athlete redefine a sport and David not only took our franchise to another level but he took our sport to another level," said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group). "It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours."
The amount of MLS expansion since Beckham's arrival and the profile of the league worldwide speaks for itself. Beckham leaves permanent marks on the Galaxy, be it the change of club colors or the extra star (possibly stars) on the kit. The Beckham experiment, as Grant Wahl famously titled it, has been a success.
While Beckham will always be remembered as a Manchester United player, and his transfer to Real Madrid caused shockwaves throughout the English football world, his time with the Galaxy may have been his most significant. It should be unsurprising that he plans to take on a new challenge, if Beckham's personality has shown anything it's that he isn't afraid of change.