Major League Soccer will be loosing it’s poster boy after the championship game on Dec. 1.
David Beckham announced Monday that he will play his last game for the Los Angeles Galaxy when they host the Houston Dynamo for the MLS Cup.
This year’s final will be a rematch of last year’s game that saw Beckham lift his first MLS Cup since joining the North American league in 2007.
Rumors have been swirling on whether Beckham will play in Australia, in an attempt to grow soccer in the country where rugby dominates.
Duane Rollins, a columnist for Canadian Soccer News, said Beckham would most likely go to Paris Saint-Germain or Japan instead of Australia.
“I don’t see Australia as a big marketing opportunity for Beckham, it’s two thirds the size of Canada, so it’s a small market,” Rollins told Humber News. “I could see him making a move to Japan, or the K-League in Korea. When he played over there for the 2002 World Cup, people went nuts over him.”
“I can be pretty cynical about Beckham, but I can’t take away from the fact that he’s still an effective player,” Rollins said.
Listen: Duane Rollins’ take on Beckham leaving MLS.
Beckham signed a 5 year, $32.5 million contract in 2007, and inked a two year extension last year after the previous contract expired.
The Galaxy struggled in their first two years with Beckham, finishing near the bottom of the league both years.
But the Galaxy managed to become a world-renown brand despite poor results on the pitch thanks to Beckham’s jersey sales and branding.
Beckham’s first MLS Cup appearance came in 2009 against Real Salt Lake, but their Western Conference rival upset the star studded Galaxy in Seattle.
Daniel Squizzato, columnist for Canadian Soccer News, said Beckham played a major part of promoting MLS, but he wasn’t the sole driving force for the growth of the league.
“Anyone who says he didn’t have a role in raising the profile in MLS is kidding themselves,” Squizzato told Humber News.
“There will be some fans who don’t return to the MLS because he was the main attraction for them, but I will say by and large that any number of fans who have been drawn to the league by Beckham or by one of the other big stars that came after him, will stay because they feel a connection to the league or their hometown team.”
Listen: Daniel Squizzato’s take on Beckham leaving MLS.
Squizzato says teams like Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Real Salt Lake all have packed their stadiums without Beckham on the pitch, and they’ll continue to be relevant once he leaves.
“He does have the chance to come back to MLS as a partial owner of an expansion franchise, which was part of his original deal,” Squizzato says. “I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Beckham in North America.”