David Beckham honored with statue at Dignity Health Sports Park
CARSON — David Beckham’s place in Los Angeles Galaxy history was cemented Saturday as a statue of his likeness striking a soccer ball was unveiled at the newly-named Dignity Health Sports Park.
“It wasn’t always easy, I know,” he told the fans at the unveiling, which took place before the Galaxy’s season opener against the Chicago Fire. “For that, I apologize, but it was one of those relationships between us. …When I first arrived, the support that you showed me, the love that you showed me, the passion, the loyalty that you showed this club and this team, can never be questioned.
Truly, Beckham’s relationship with the Galaxy faithful didn’t always go smoothly.
Beckham spent six seasons with the team, joining in 2007 as Major League Soccer’s first Designated Player. He battled through injuries early as the Galaxy struggled on the field, missing the playoffs in 2007 and 2008.
But all was forgiven after he closed his career with the Galaxy with MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012.
“For you guys, in the end, I hope that I won you over. My commitment to this club, to this league, to this country, was always a lot more than just on the field. I wanted to grow this league, I wanted to play a small part in growing this league and bringing players and bringing Cups and making this league more successful and bigger than it already was.”
At halftime, Beckham was inducted into the Galaxy’s Ring of Honor.
Beckham is currently co-owner of Inter Miami, an expansion club set to debut in Major League Soccer next season.
Beckham was surrounded on stage by his former teammate and current Galaxy President Chris Klein, teammate Robbie Keane, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean and AEG CEO Dan Beckerman.
“I’m not sure the league would be what it is today, if David Beckham didn’t make the decision to join the Galaxy,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
Carson Mayor Albert Robles, congresswoman Nanette Barragan and former Carson Mayor Jim Dear were among the politicians in attendance.
Todd Dunivant and Mike Magee, a couple of Beckham’s former teammates with the Galaxy, were also in attendance, along with former Galaxy greats Cobi Jones and Mauricio Cienfuegos.
“If you’ve been Downtown Los Angeles and Staples Center and L.A. Live, you see that we have a rich tradition of celebrating athletes and we pay tribute to them with the highest honor with a statue at Star Plaza,” Beckerman said. “Today, we’re happy to launch that tradition here with the Galaxy. There are a lot of worthy candidates, but someone needs to come first.
“He changed our league forever when he joined the Galaxy in 2007.”
The statue was created by Julie and Omri Amrany, owners of the Fine Arts Studio of Rotblatt Amrany and Timeless Creations Inc.
Some of their previous work includes statues of NBA legend Michael Jordan in Chicago, Lakers Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Staples Center and hockey great Gordie Howe in Detroit.
“As an athlete, you travel around the world and play in different places and different cities with different fans and teams, but the support from my wife and family, my kids, I will be forever grateful,” Beckham said, “When I talk about the Galaxy and L.A., I talk about it as family, because it is a big family.”