Last week, iconic international soccer star, David Beckham, hung up his boots and officially announced his retirement from the sport. Beckham, over a 20-year career, was recognized for his achievements both on and off the field. Beyond the numerous international Player of the Year awards and the more recent “Best MLS Player” award in 2011, Beckham is a founding member of the Malaria No More UK Leadership Council, and a supporter of Help for Heroes, a charity aimed at helping injured service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Beckham has also been appointed as a UNICEF Ambassador.
At 38, what does life look like after a storied career and a graceful exit? We hope that Beckham continues to commit time and effort to encourage children to embrace the game of soccer and all the lessons it has to offer. It was only last year that the Foundation shared a memorable moment with Beckham and his teammates at President Obama’s LA Galaxy White House Event. Beckham and the rest of the LA Galaxy, along with the President and First Lady, charmed and inspired Soccer for Success participants while speaking to them about the health benefits of staying fit on the soccer field. Prior to that event, Beckham attended our 2008 New York Gala, and made appearances at FC Harlem, one of our thriving Soccer for Success partners.
At the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we rely on the wattage of stars like David Beckham, Todd Dunivant, Cobi Jones, Angela Hucles, Christie Rampone, Claudio Reyna and others to shine a spotlight on programs that provide social change through soccer. Professional players and their ability to connect with people of all ages on and off the field can do a world of good for organizations like ours. We wish the best to Beckham in his retirement, and look forward to seeing more of his philanthropic efforts, even if we can no longer witness his masterful skills on the field.