David Beckham closing his playing days with L.A. Galaxy

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Nobody should be too shocked about tonight’s massive news out of Southern California that David Beckham has one game remaining in his illustrious six-year run with the Los Angeles Galaxy. We’ve all seen the signs lately.

The Galaxy announced on its website late Monday evening that Beckham, 37, will play his last match for the club on Dec. 1. That night, at the team’s Home Depot Center, the former England captain and his Galaxy teammates will try to defend their MLS Cup title.

Beckham arrived into MLS in 2007; he has easily been the league’s most high-profile figure. By a long, long way.

His performance was typically good, although not always world-class. Then again, importing soccer’s most iconic global figure was never really about Ws and Ls. His arrival here was all about awareness; sellouts were the norm in his first few go-rounds into opposition stadiums, for instance. The real “wins” for MLS were in general market awareness (i.e., outside the soccer follower crowd) and enhanced TV contracts.

Well, that a selling boats full of L.A. Galaxy merchandise around the world.

(MORE: Where the Beckham story goes next … lots of tentacles to this one)

The organization’s release said the Dec. 1 MLS Cup final will “be his final competitive game with the club.” That certainly opens up the possibility that Beckham will perform elsewhere. (Did we dismiss those rumors of Beckham in Australia too quickly?) Given his age and his ongoing injury trouble this year, it’s difficult to see him in uniform in a top level league in Europe.

Then again, as we know, you never say never with Beckham, a man who has always been able to write his own rules.

Here’s the release from the L.A. Galaxy.

We’ll have much, much more on Beckham’s days and night in sunny So Cal. We’ll tell you where the story goes next (hint: lots of places) and we’ll have some thoughts on the timing here; this all comes as his team prepares for its Dec. 1 MLS Cup title defense.

(MORE: We tried to warn you yesterday something like this might happen)

The other interesting angle here is Beckham’s ongoing interest in MLS ownership. He hinted at playing elsewhere and at the ongoing ownership initiative in his quote on the official release:

I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, 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.”

(MORE: Beckham absolutely dominates the Daily Soccer Re-set)