Home Depot Center - Carson, CA -- David Beckham stepped foot on the Los Angeles Galaxy's practice field for the first this year, and as expected, it was quite the media draw. Practice itself was a mite thin, Bruce Arena, Omar Gonzalez, Edson Buddle, and Landon Donovan were all back in New York waiting for the team, having participated in Tuesday's US national team friendly against Brazil. Bruce Arena was there being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. Landon is once again working the late night circuit, with an appearance of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night.
Which made Beckham the star of the show all on his own, and he was an ever gracious host. Most of the talk surrounded how he felt after his injury. When asked how he responded to his injury, "Obviously I was disappointed." Beckham said, " The biggest time of disappointment was probably straight after the surgery, I was on some medications so I can't remember all that well, but after those days yeah that was the first time that I really realized it. It's always disappointing to be out of the game."
Beckham believed the key to his speedy recovery was his positivity. "I think that's one of the reasons why I'm in the condition I am and that I was able to come back as soon as I am because I am a positive person. I've always believed that I could come back sooner than anyone expected. I stayed like that, my friends, my family have been strong around me, and that obviously helps."
His practicing today, so soon compared to when most people thought he'd be back, brought out some concern, but Beckham isn't taking the injury lightly. "The people I spoke to really were kind of saying, you have to realize how serious this injury is, you have to take your time, don't rush it, cause if you retear it, then you won't play. That kind of stuck in my mind, and I kind of listened to advice from doctors and physios people that I was working with."
As far as how the injury has affected his outlook, Beckham showed more of that positivity. He was asked if being out made him feel differently about football (soccer), "Maybe miss it more. Y'know, when playing in Europe we had that pre-season break and when you're on that break you want it to last a little longer. But it's made me miss it, like when I was 20 years old and couldn't wait to get back to training. Made me realize how much I love the game again, and how much I miss playing."
That question with followed up with whether or not that surprised him, at his age. "A little bit. I obviously love the game, I wouldn't be doing it at my age if I didn't love it as passionately as I do. I suppose it surprised me a little bit, cause people say at my age you kind of start not loving football as much as you did when you were 21."
Moving on from the injury, he was asked what he felt about European players coming into MLS. With LA making a trip to New York where they'll face newly acquired Thierry Henry and Raphael Marquez the issue of MLS becoming an "European Retirement Home" the issue is a timely one. "I think [European players coming to MLS] is great," Beckham said. "Someone told me European players coming into the league, it's not good cause the young US guys don't get a chance, but that's a load of, y'know I won't say it, but I think at the end of the day, players from Europe coming into this league, young players need someone to aspire to, and when they see Henry and Marquez come in, you know you learn from these players. I had Eric Cantona, there's no one better and that works as hard as Eric Cantona, so I think that's great for the league. [It will] bring interest into the league, the World Cup got so much coverage in the US, it was great, and I've never witnessed that before."
David Beckham will be on the sidelines with his team in New York, and when asked about it, he said, "[It's a] Big game for the guys, an important game, big game for the league. Thierry, Marquez; one of the best franchises is LA, and the other is New York, so I wanted to go over there and support the guys."
Look for Becks and his positive energy on the Galaxy sideline this Saturday, and hopefully in playing form this September. Leave a note in the comments if you'd like me to post the full transcript from Beckham's press conference.