Be sure to watch the LA Galaxy take on the Houston Dynamo at the Home Depot Center (December 1 @ 1:30pm PST).
LOS ANGELES (AP) - David Beckham will play his final game for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup next month.
Beckham and the Galaxy announced the English midfielder's decision Monday, a day after the defending MLS champions advanced to their second straight league final. Los Angeles faces Houston for the MLS title on Dec. 1.
The 37-year-old Beckham isn't retiring, but the superstar he gave no hint of his next move.
''I've had an incredibly special time playing for the L.A. Galaxy,'' Beckham said in a statement. ''However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career. I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league, as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.''
Beckham has played in Los Angeles for six seasons since his groundbreaking move from Real Madrid, reaching three league finals and winning one MLS title last year during his best stateside campaign.
He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy in January after playing out his initial five-year deal, turning down potential moves to wealthy Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs - including at least one Premiership team, according to Beckham.
Beckham has been the star player for MLS' highest-profile franchise during his tenure, which began with a handful of rocky seasons before the Galaxy became a power under coach Bruce Arena in recent years. As Beckham indicated in his news release, his MLS contract includes the option to purchase a league franchise when his playing career ends, and Beckham has long been keen on an ownership move.
''In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year,'' Beckham said. ''I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in L.A. and across the States. Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country, and I want to always be part of growing it."
Beckham has been among MLS' top players when healthy throughout his contract, and the gifted playmaker has meshed well with fellow international stars Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan during the Galaxy's past two seasons. Los Angeles got off to a slow start this year, but has played splendidly down the stretch and into the postseason, rolling to a first-round elimination of the Supporters' Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes and a two-game victory over the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference finals.
MLS has grown exponentially during Beckham's tenure as the league's face, expanding to 19 North American teams with record attendance and much-improved broadcast deals. The Galaxy reached the most lucrative television deal in MLS history last year with Time Warner Cable Sports.
''There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived,'' MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. ''David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the L.A. Galaxy and the league.''
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