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Will 2009 be Beckham’s last MLS hurrah?


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Just when you thought David Beckham would stick around Major League Soccer through the 2011 season, now comes word that the upcoming MLS season could be his last.

Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl is reporting that Beckham’s five-year contract has an escape clause that would allow him to walk away after the 2009 season.

That development is certainly big news and suddenly makes the 2009 season an even more important one for a Galaxy club that most certainly has to turn things around or risk losing Beckham altogether.

To be fair, absolutely nobody should be surprised by this development. If you thought Beckham signed a five-year contract with MLS, and it didn’t have an out clause, you had to be kidding yourselves. The question is just what will be the determining factors to Beckham staying beyond 2009? Winning an MLS Cup title? Making the playoffs?

Here is one question I can’t help but ask. Will Beckham’s contract status make the Galaxy work that much harder to keep Landon Donovan despite Donovan’s strong desire to go to Europe? Could Beckham’s presence in Los Angeles ultimately prevent Donovan from making the move? Could this lead to a strained relationship between the two stars?

What do you think of this development? Do you see Beckham leaving the Galaxy after 2009? Share your thoughts below.


  1. MLS wasn’t and isn’t ready to really capitilize fully on these DP players. And the reason why is the salary cap is just too low. It’s time to take a risk Garber double the salary cap, expand foriegn spots and get rid of silly allocation system. If MLS doesn’t change only retired star players will want to play here.

  2. As a MLS fan since Beckham joined, let me say that if you want to see MLS get bigger in your lifetime, the star players are the future. Exciting soccer is great. Exciting soccer played with at least a few exciting players is even better.

  3. Lloyd, who is “we” exactly? You speaking for all fans now?

    But seriously, YOU aren’t kidding yourself for not knowing, you’re kidding yourself if you were surprised to learn that such an escape clause existed. That’s why I wrote “If you thought” as opposed to “if you didn’t know.”

  4. “If you thought Beckham signed a five-year contract with MLS, and it didn’t have an out clause, you had to be kidding yourselves.”

    So we were kidding ourselves for not knowing something the soccer media neglected to ferret out until today??

    People in glass houses…..

  5. MLS has bigger problems than Beckham. The Salary Structure needs to be altered so that teams can afford to keep audience drawing stars like Beckham and domestic stars like Donovan and still surround them with a competent supporting cast.

  6. kofi_x5 –

    “Galaxy scored 50 something goals this season, due in large part to his presence on the pitch.”



    Rolfe is playing the exact same position this season, and taking up a fraction of the cap space Beck is…. personally i will take Rolfe over Beckham IN THIS LEAGUE any day of the week… quite simply Beckham’s talent of crossing is wasted by the limited talent he has to work with.. id much rather have a work horse who’s talented and that can work with who is around them (rolfe)

    Beckham is overpaid, and simply acts above the MLS (in setting up this “loan”)…. personally i think if LA are wanting a winning team, they would sell both Donovan and Beckham… that way they would have ~900k of cap space to work with, not to mention the transfer money…. they should copy Houston in producing a team, or even NER….

  7. If the salary cap isn’t raised, there might be a players’ strike or league lockout after 2009 — and that would end Beckham’s MLS career. You think he wants to be in a league in which outside circumstances prevent him from playing? Not on your life. Why do you think he has an escape clause after 2009? He or his representatives know that the collective bargaining agreement ends after that season — and that negotiations could get rather sticky.

  8. This will be a critical issue for MLS going into the ’09 season. I really think the league execs will listen to Tim Lewieke and significantly increase the salary cap so that the Beckham experiment can work.

    If MLS fails in this experiment, it will be a big step back for the league. I believe MLS will remove the DP impact to salary caps in ’09. DPs will be completely contracted to individual clubs and will have zero impact to the salary cap — which will be good for seeing more DPs in the league and raising it’s profile.

  9. this will force MLS to raise the salary cap and not penalize teams cap wise for using a DP when the CBA is renegotiated.

    they want to keep the face of the league happy.

  10. If anyone blocks Landon’s pass to Europe, they will be the most hated person in American Soccer. Landon deserves to go to Europe and go for broke. Nobody in US soccer, or MLS should stop him. oh yea… Becks..uhm…good beer I suppose?

  11. Back -> Adu doesn’t even dress… <-Forward

    Beckham is decent, but didn't anyone else notice he wasn't motivated after June? I did. His work rate dropped and so did his production. Heck, even Javi made Becks look bad, and Javi makes about $250K per year. I think we need more Javis in MLS and less Becks.

    Sell him to Milan and report the transfer fee adnausium…. that will make the news.

  12. This is what I think, he stays through 2009, mls is less stressful then other parts of the world. 2010 he’s with england for the world cup. So I think this argument is moot by the time he comes back he’s either pissed because england lost and he retires or he’s happy because they won and he retires. Since I don’t believe they can win wouldn’t it be hilarious if it came down to the US and England to get through to the semis and we beat them? That would be funny. Don’t laugh! a girl can dream.

  13. Adu isn’t coming back. Period. He couldn’t get away from the MLS quick enough, and coming back now, besides being bad for his development, would mean he failed to cut it in Europe. It’s not about the money.

    Same for Becks. He could walk away from the contract, sure, because he’s already got tons of dough. To him, putting on the England jersey is priceless.

  14. much adu about nothing…

    speaking of whom, why not sell beckham and donavan and bring adu back to the gals for a few years. galaxy get a big american name (one that at least many peripheral fans recognize), freddie tears it up a lil, gets back on track, then moves on.

    just thinkin’ out loud here.

  15. Beckham would still go for a ton of money in the transfer market. Remember, signing Beckham is not about his skill. He is a decent player, but he sells tons of jerseys, and if you spent $50 million pounds on him, you’d get your money back with him. That is why he is valuable. His play is secondary.

  16. Are we forgetting the incredible contract he has? Why would he walk away from $100 MM (for his last two years)? Forget the tranfer fee, no other team would pay him that kind of wage.

    Plus we are also forgetting that the reason the Galaxy bought him was to grow the value of the franchise and make money off shirt sales, why would they want to pass on that?

    Finally his role on the National Tean is reduced to a bit role, i think he just wants Bobby Moore’s record as England’s most capped outfield palyer. Which i think is a fair testament to what he has given to English football.

    AEG, screwed up the Galaxy not Beckham, he’s done what he was paid to do and more. Let’s see what Arena can do in the off season before getting to excited.

  17. Wow, I don’t care if he leaves, but I really think they should keep him. If he walks now with everyone knowing he has a 5 year deal, it makes MLS look real bad. I hate to say it but LA and MLS need to stick with him for better or worse.

  18. wow.


    It would be the best way to save face. Of course, he would then become the butt of every joke this side of the Atlantic.

    Sucks when people choose a messiah, and blindly put all their hopes into them, no?

    It will just make it that much more important for MLS to sign a huge name ASAP.

  19. If winning is important, the Gals should sell Beckham. He is not going to make this team a champion. They need to use his cap space to get a couple of servicable players.

    All those calling for more DPs should know that more likely to be a drag on the teams performance than something to build around.

    BTW, doesn’t Wahl sound like a naive blogger in that article. How could he be suprised that Beckham had leverage? His shock at the discovery of an opt-out clause is almost comical. Just because the leauge announces some “historic signing or relationship” in Garber-speak, doesn’t mean it’s true. That is so obvious from out here on the periphery. I wonder if Wahl pays attention at all.

  20. Becks is a class act. And he’s tired of playing in a terrible league where his own team mates can’t even put the ball on his foot. Not to mention MLS hacks two-footing him just to say they took a shot at him.

    Becks main concern is lifting the world cup trophy in SA 2010. The only chance he has to make that squad is to play top flight ball, which is what he will get at Milan. He will not be back for the 2009 season and I don’t blame him.

  21. Beckham might leave despite the Galaxy doing well in 2009. He said he came here to make soccer more popular and of course improve himself and have fun. If the Galaxy can do well in 2009 and he see’s that they’re fine without him, he might leave. Who knows? He might stop soccer altogether.

  22. CD:

    That makes total sense to me. Sort of. He’s being paid so much partly because when he’s on the field in the US, the MLS makes money. Aside from how ‘good’ he is (or isn’t) no one else in the MLS can do that.

    But you cannot deny that he is effective on the field.

    Galaxy scored 50 something goals this season, due in large part to his presence on the pitch. All the franchises made money when he came to town. Due in large part to Calvin Klein.

    If the Galaxy franchise had put quality on the defensive side of the ball, they would have been scored on a heckuva lot less ( than 50times )and both Beckham and Donovan would be hanging around next season. Not to mention be seriously contending against Houston, Chicago, and Columbus for the title right now in the playoffs.

  23. AEG has made their money back on Becks. Everyone is no longer starstruck, so let him go if he wants. There are other stars you can bring to the league to sell jerseys.

  24. If next year Beck was to leave it would look really bad for the MLS. A lot can happen in a year though.

    No need to really worry right now. If they are in the same boat next year well I’m sure the captain will jump overboard.

  25. Mainly because of Beckham the Galaxy are valued at 3 times more than any other MLS franchise by Forbes.

    “Forbes magazine, famous for its valuations of sports leagues and franchises, has released its first ever look at the value of Major League Soccer franchises, and the Los Angeles Galaxy is far and away the most valuable team in the league.

    The Galaxy, owned by Los Angeles-based AEG, has an estimated worth of $100 million. Chivas USA comes in at number 11, with an estimated worth of $24 million.

    The report says that David Beckham’s arrival in Los Angeles is a big reason for the financial success of the Galaxy. The report says that 300,000 of Beckham’s replica jerseys were sold last year. ”

  26. BTW- Why all the bitterness toward this guy?

    People didn’t hate on Micheal Jordan when he went to a crappy team and failed to propel them to greatness.

    He’s a good solid footballer. Its not his falut all the chicks dig him. He’s not pissing in your cornflakes. Your girlfriend is.

  27. Lost in all this is that he is not one of the best five players in the MLS, and that’s saying something given his salary (Schelotto, Donovan, Blanco, Morales, Cooper). Make of that what you will.

  28. Wow if the Galaxy lose Donovan whats the point of having Beckham on the team?

    Thats like having a Porche 911 with no wheels.

    They need to figure out how to improve their FEEBLE DEFENSE. Because even with Donovan & Beckham, that Porche has no insurance.

    Even with the cash they might get from booting D & B next season they will be rebuilding so heavily that they’ll be a completely new team, reduced to expansion team quality. And will likely get smoked by both SJ and the Sounders. And will cap off the season preparing Jack O’Lanterns and Trick or Treating with neighborhood kids, instead of preparing for the next round of the playoffs.

  29. So he has a contract that pays him $50 Million a year in total compensation, he can opt out of after 3 years and he has the rights to buy an MLS franchise. He might be the greatest business man to ever play any sport. He has a marketing presence in nearly every country in the world and he will be sending children through his academies thus creating another generation of worshipers. All hail the mighty one…

  30. Beckham £20 million? Are you mental? Nobody would pay that, even if they did get a percentage of his image rights, which I doubt they would.

    His transfer fee would be around £3 million – £5 million.

  31. 20 million pounds? ha… no, he’s a little old and slow to warrant money like that. I don’t think galaxy is going to see an influx of 35 million dollars (20 million pounds). that’s just dumb.

  32. let him join the aging decrepit team that is AC, just what they need, another older midfielder.

    To be honest tho i dont really care what happens to him. I guess hes run his course (relatively speaking), i dont blame him from wanting to leave LA as its a mess that wotn get sorted for a long while.

    Dont know how much of an effect he will have in Italy outside of selling shirts, i dont think hes totally lost his skill but i do think that the calibre of players he will be playing will certainly dampen his effect. Kinda feel like his arrival was superficial anyways and that he never really gave that much more credibility ot the league to begin with outside of star power. Obviously this is all opinionated jabber. I do also think that Sticky Vicky is prob a little peeved that she didnt get the shine in hollywood she had hoped ot receive and thats played a small part in this as well.

    Oh well, move on MLS/fair weather supporters. MLS got money and attention, now they need to focus on importing, building quality. Once again not to say that Secksy Becksy wasnt quality, only to say that one player in one league/one team, does not make it/them quality.

    Wow, i just typed alot about something i supposedly dont care about, HA

  33. Why not sell both him and Donovan and get tons of money (I bet Becks would go for atleast 20 million pounds) and give most of the money to the clubs? The next step in the development of the league is raising the percentage of money given to teams on transfer fees. The galaxy should get atleast half of the money gotten on Donovan and atleast seventy to eighty percent of the transfer fee for Becks? You could build an awesome team with that kind of money.

  34. Yes, the Galaxy will work that much harder to keep Donovan. But if Beckham has the option to leave after 2009, then Donovan will really push to leave now, depending on what adjustments Arena makes this off-season. In any case, I expect an ugly battle between Donovan and AEG/MLS.

  35. I don’t know… Certainly he’s getting to the point where he doesn’t have much in the tank at all, at this point. His focus is on playing for England, that’s why he’s going to Milan. After leaving Madrid, I thought that his career would be on the downhill. Obviously he hasn’t been lighting things up in LA, though I suppose you can chalk it up to the team around him, I don’t know how far that goes.

    I think if he does well with Milan, he’s going to want to leave. The experiment has served it’s purpose, I think. Trends have been showing that improved stadiums and competitive teams draw fans, not individuals, and I think that’s the blueprint we should follow, instead of just trying to poach the big names.

  36. Sell them both now, get a new DP, and build a solid team around whatever new superstar they can find. Beckham-mania has run its course.


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