Leiweke ponders Galaxy legacy after bringing Beckham back with new deal

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By ADAM SERRANO

LOS ANGELES — David Beckham has always been a vital part of AEG president Tim Leiweke's plans for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Now as Beckham prepares for his second stint with the club, Leiweke is considering the legacy that he will leave on his team. 

On Thursday, the AEG-owned Galaxy announced that Beckham had re-upped with the club on a new two-year contract, turning away interest from several teams including French giant Paris-St. Germain. Now as he looks ahead to the next two years, Leiweke hopes that the Galaxy will build the foundation for a storied legacy. 

"When I grew up, you always heard about the legendary Cosmos and the impact that they had on soccer," Leiweke said. "Even today there are people that argue that the Cosmos is the greatest brand in soccer, but I think that the Galaxy is the greatest brand in soccer ever, and we're trying to create that legacy right now."

Beckham's presence has always been paramount for Leiweke's lofty ambitions for the Galaxy. When the English star was signed by the club in 2007, he was trumpeted as an individual who could potentially change the perception of soccer in the United States.

As Beckham re-joins the Galaxy, he returns to a league that has changed greatly since 2007. Seven franchises have been added to the 19 team league while 13 of those franchises now play in their own soccer-specific facilities. Even so, the Englishman understands that the job is not yet complete.

"There's more that I can do. I don't think that my job as an ambassador of the league is finished. I want to continue to be a part of this, because I do feel the change," Beckham said. "In this last year I have felt the change, and I will continue to work hard to make this game grow and I'm sure there will be other players that will help continue to do that. There's a lot of players doing a lot of good work in different organizations that are making this game big in this country. … I don't believe my job is finished and that is one of the reasons I wanted to stay."

To build the Galaxy brand into a true national — and global — entity, the club must find more success on the field. After winning the Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup and advancing to the quarterfinals of the in-progress CONCACAF Champions League, the Galaxy face a formidible test to repeat their success this season. 

This time around, the Galaxy will need to make several additions to bolster their roster with Juninho departing the club for Sao Paulo while Omar Gonzalez misses seven to nine months with a torn left ACL. For the Galaxy to find the right pieces, Beckham is expected to be used in a recruiting capacity — as he was when the Galaxy acquired Robbie Keane.

"We're out of Designated Player spots, so we'll see how good a recruiter he is, because they'll have to accept a salary that is not a DP salary," said Lewieke. "When David puts his mind to it then he's amazing, and Bruce will tell you that David has been very involved in trying to fill those two holes that we have with Juninho and Omar [Gonzalez]. Bruce thinks he's filled one and we're focused on filling the other."

When all is said and done, Leiweke believes that the Galaxy can not reach their goals of growing MLS' exposure and presence alone, and in the bowels of the Staples Center he issued his challenge for other teams in MLS to follow in the Galaxy's footsteps. 

"We want to be the brand that people talk about changed the sport forever in this country," Leiweke said. "We aspire to be revolutionary in our thinking and in the way that we challenge every other club to come to this level and join us. Spend the money and go get the guys like Beckham, who, at the end of the day, will change the sport forever."

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27 Responses to Leiweke ponders Galaxy legacy after bringing Beckham back with new deal

  1. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    “…but I think that the Galaxy is the greatest brand in soccer ever…”

    I’m sure that Man U., Arsenal, Barca, Real Madrid and Brazil fans would agree. ;)

    Gentle readers, now you know why people call the Galaxy’s boss, “Tim Lie-weekly” (or “Lie-weakly,” take your choice).

  2. abc says:

    He’s clearly talking about the US and not foreign teams, hence why he mentions the New York Cosmos.
    Having said that, how do you not mention Bayern Munich…

  3. predicto says:

    he said soccer, not football

  4. Charles says:

    I like his attitude…too much of the “I hope we become a feader league” talk out there for my taste. Toronto has sold 35,000 tickets to the LA game…I would think the Sounders would sell more than that if LA and they go to the next round of CCL.

  5. Donny Trump says:

    Dissed by the press in their own town

  6. FSegaud says:

    Leiwekes’ legacy had the bar set pretty high after he dealt with the Carson City Hall to get the HDC built. I doubt he would have had a chance with Beckham to begin with if the Galaxy were still playing in the Rose Bowl.

  7. T says:

    The Galaxy have the chance to eventually surpass the Cosmos as the US’s biggest club, but of course winning consistently and in important competitions enables that to happen. I believe they can capture the regional title if they work hard enough, like to see more strong additions to the team of course.

  8. Lorenzo says:

    MLS is doing lots of great things. Not sure there is much we can do that is new, because the salary cap is set. We can just keep building good stadiums, sponsorship deals. I guess winning CCL would be it.

    I wonder if we will be able to get another world renowned player, like Beckham or Henry. If they can get Ballack that is pretty close. Keane, Marquez are known by soccer fans, but not to that level.

    I’m sure Ronaldo and Messi are the ones most people wonder about, seeing as Ronaldo Phenomo and Ronaldinho didn’t pan out. C Ronaldo likes NYC, no doubt he comes at some point. Don’t know if Messi will ever come, might just retire from Barca or go play final years for Newell’s Old Boys.

  9. Lorenzo says:

    The Cosmos also had two of the greatest players to play the game along side of each other. Pele and Beckenbaur are ancient gods of the game.

  10. Nigel Brooks says:

    Leiweke issued his challenge for other teams in MLS to follow in the Galaxy’s footsteps……………

    Excellent challenge Tim – so how about kicking in $12 million to your orange headed stepchild The Houston Dynamo for 3 DP’s. Heck. we’d take half of that.

  11. T says:

    The Dynamo are smaller market team! >:-)

  12. hendrix says:

    Toronto will sell out the Skydome for the game…. max seating is around 47,000. Of course Seattle could sell more as its stadium seats more.

  13. Web says:

    And yet after being in LA for MLS Cup I can say the Dynamo have more press, more solid fan base and much more relevance in their city than does the Galaxy uin theirs. I never saw a Galaxy jersey, sign, fan or even a mention anywhere inLA outside of HDC.

  14. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    nothing great about scheisse bayern munchen

  15. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    yeah, was gonna say the games not for a while and they still got tickets to sell…

  16. abc says:

    The Galaxy will not “eventually surpass” but inevitably surpass the Cosmos as long as only one of those two franchises exists as a first division soccer team. Of course the Cosmos could come back and then it would be a competitive race again.

  17. abc says:

    AEG already has multiple potential buyers lined up, they are just waiting for the new stadium to be completed and then they will sell the Dynamo. So wait a little while (one year from now max) and then ask your new owners.

  18. Jake says:

    It can be greatest brand ever…It has to start somewhere. Winning CCL would be a small step toward that goal.

  19. Sims says:

    At this point I think TFC has the stronger team going into the next round. LA has 2 starting positions to fill quickly (Juninho, Gonzalez) and 3 if you count the awful Cristman at forward.

  20. Singhe says:

    And guess who will be part owner of the Cosmos…

  21. Stevie says:

    Ronaldo will come after Beckham retires…It’s just a matter of time. He just fits the Hollywood mold. Ronaldinho may still come also.

  22. Sixto says:

    good point…The media outlets in LA still dont give enough press to the champs. The team could also do a better job of marketing such a strong commodity. LA fans are trendy and bandwagoners, so things should pick up this season. The Time Warner and NBC Sports deals will help also.

  23. abc says:

    Pretty sure Beckham’s deal doesn’t allow him to start a team in NY or LA if he wants the discount on the expansion fee.

  24. JoeSchmoe says:

    The Galaxy need to make a couple more signings to do anything in the CCL. Plus you just know Keane is going to get hurt from not taking enough of a break. You could almost say the same about Donovan.

  25. Joamiq says:

    Wow, Leiweke looks a lot like Jack Donaghy in that photo.

  26. Relip says:

    Toronto, Vancouver, and Chicago have had the best offseasons. They were also 3 of the strongest teams toward the end of last year.