Beckham interested in becoming MLS owner

August 7, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham tilted his head back, calculated how old he will be when his MLS contract expires and thought about what he'd like to do next.

"I still want to be involved. I want to be an ambassador of the league," he told reporters on Friday, a day before the Galaxy play the New England Revolution in Foxborough.

"There's a deal in place where I can purchase an MLS team or start a franchise. It's something I am definitely interested in, or I wouldn't have it in my contract."

Beckham's option to buy a Major League Soccer franchise was reported last year, though he would not comment on the details. But now the international star, who will be 36 when his contract expires, is just two seasons away from the end of the five-year, $32.5 million deal he signed to leave Real Madrid and join the upstart soccer league.

"The option is there," he said, declining to speculate on whether he also would play for his own team.

The Galaxy brought Beckham in as a boost for the struggling team and the sport's low profile in America. Although the benefits have yet to be seen on the field -- he was injured much of the first season, and the Galaxy have yet to make the playoffs with him -- attendance has spiked at home and wherever the team plays.

"Every game I've played in, there's always an excitement in the crowd," Beckham said of the more than 93,000 who came to see the Galaxy play FC Barcelona last week. "As a player and as a team, you want to play in front of bigger crowds. We need to cultivate that interest in the game."

But Beckham drew some unwanted interest when he gestured to booing fans who resented his reluctant return to Los Angeles after playing with AC Milan. A Galaxy supporter leaped from the fan section onto the field after Beckham approached the stands at halftime; Beckham was fined $1,000 by the league.

"There's always going to be someone saying it's not a good idea, me being here," Beckham said. "You have to take the rough with the smooth. You're going to have some bumps along the way. They've been small bumps so far."

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Beckham has been "nothing but fabulous" to work with.

"On the field, he's a very important member of the team," Arena said, noting that Beckham was injured for all but a handful of games his first season and returned from Europe just two games ago this year. "David has stepped in and let his playing do the talking."

It's a busy time for Beckham and his wife, Victoria, who was named one of the guest American Idol judges to fill in for Paula Abdul after her contract negotiations fell through.

"She's really excited about that," the soccer player said. "Everyone's sad to see Paula go, of course, because she was loved by so many people. Victoria has been given the chance to stand in and she's looking forward to it."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press