David Beckham will leave the LA Galaxy after the current MLS season, and while he's not ready to hang up his cleats just yet, his next challenge will take him to another league.
The English midfielder announced in a press release on Monday that the MLS Cup final on Dec. 1 against the Houston Dynamo will be his last competitive match in a Galaxy jersey. The 37-year-old isn't ready to quit playing soccer just yet, though.
"I still feel that I have something left in me as a player," Beckham said Tuesday. "I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player, even at 37 years old. I feel that I still can play at a high level. Where that'll be yet, I haven't decided. I have some exciting opportunities on the table."
The former England captain dismissed speculation that he would join another team in Major League Soccer. He and his representatives had previously played down links of him to Australian clubs, and he also hinted that China was not in the mix.
"I haven't had any talks right now with anybody [from China], but I do have exciting and some interesting options on the table," Beckham said.
Beckham also clarified that when he signed an extension a year ago, it was a one-year contract with a mutual option for a second year. The decision to leave, according to Beckham, was "totally mine" and that AEG president Tim Leiweke tried to change his mind.
"We've seen very few people at David's age play at the level he's been able to play at," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "It's a testament to his professionalism."
Beckham has transitioned to a central midfield position in later years for the Galaxy, tucking in from his former position on the right. His set piece and passing precision remain at a high caliber, according to his teammates.
"The ability for him to stretch the field is more important than meets the eye," Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. "His ability to stretch teams like that is very important."
The U.S. international likened it to a quarterback with a deep range of passing who keeps defenders honest in fear of a deep ball. Some other team, somewhere else in the world, will benefit from those playing characteristics starting in 2013.
"I don't feel as if I'm ready to retire yet," Beckham said. "That's not one of my options right now."
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