When David Beckham joined Major League Soccer in 2007, his contract included a clause that allowed him to buy into the league as an owner upon his retirement. The clause's existence, and Beckham's eagerness to enact it once he eventually does retire, is public knowledge. Its exact details remain cloudy.
MLS commissioner Don Garber did shed some light on it during a conference call on Monday, though. The only city where Beckham can't buy a club is New York; anywhere else in the United States and Canada is fair game.
“Anything's a possibility other than his right to exercise that option in New York,” Garber said.
The commissioner explained why NYC was off the table.
“Major League Soccer has been looking at the possibility of expanding in New York since the league was founded in '96. There was a concept of having two teams in the league way back then,” he said. “We knew when we were speaking with David and Simon Fuller that eventually we would have an opportunity in New York regardless of the role that David played in helping grow the league.”
Garber specifically mentioned that Los Angeles, and even the LA Galaxy, could be in play for Beckham. Galaxy investor/operator AEG is currently for sale.
"I heard that," Beckham has previously said. "We'll see."
The 37-year-old Beckham will leave LA as a player after the MLS Cup final against the Houston Dynamo on Dec. 1. He plans to explore other playing options before returning to MLS as an owner. After six years with the English midfielder adding celebrity and credibility to the league, Garber believes MLS is ready to stand on its own in the post-Beckham years.
“We needed David Beckham in 2007 to help drive our credibility, to help grow our popularity and to show the world really that the United States ... was ready to support a division one league,” Garber said. “We don't need anything today to get us to the next level.”
Garber went on to say that he believes another player “will surprise the soccer world” like Beckham did by joining MLS, and that Beckham and Thierry Henry have proven instrumental in luring other Designated Players to the league.
He considers The Beckham Experiment, as Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl's book called it, a success.
“I have no regrets whatsoever in any aspect of this deal,” Garber said.
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