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Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011

MLS chief lauds Beckham's impact


LOS ANGELES — Commissioner Don Garber thought he knew what Major League Soccer was getting into when the Los Angeles Galaxy signed David Beckham more than four years ago. Garber now realizes he had no idea what the Beckham Experience would mean for his fledgling league.

A few days before Beckham plays for his first MLS title in the final days of his Galaxy contract, Garber says the league doesn't regret inviting the English superstar to become the face of MLS in 2007.

"I underestimated the power of his celebrity by a long shot," Garber said. "I think we underestimated the challenge of (Beckham) playing for England, and we didn't expect his desire to go out on loan (to AC Milan). But I also totally underestimated how hardworking and tough he is.

"He will play through injury and fatigue. That warrior-like mentality was like nobody expected in MLS. This guy wants to win, and he'll do anything. He's been great for our league and for our game."

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