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Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

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L.A. confidential: David Beckham talks to reporters during a news conference in Carson, California, on Tuesday. AP

Beckham undecided on future plans

AP

CARSON, California — David Beckham will announce the next stop in his soccer career near the end of the year. Until then, he's focusing on winning one more trophy with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham said on Tuesday he has "exciting opportunities on the table" to continue playing after he leaves the Galaxy next month, capping a six-season U.S. career with Los Angeles' second straight appearance in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 1.

"I still feel that I have something left in me as a player," Beckham said at the Galaxy training complex. "I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player. Even at 37 years old, I still can play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided."

"Right now my focus is on the final," he added. "Once that's out of the way, we have an (exhibition) tour to deal with, and then it's Christmas, which we always spend in London, so I'll be there and I'll make the decision then."

The English midfielder wasn't specific about where he might end up next, deflecting questions about every destination from Australia and China to France and Britain. While discussing his future in the most oblique terms, Beckham only confirmed he won't move to New York or any other MLS team.

"There are options, and I'm very lucky at my age to have options," Beckham said. "People have talked about my retirement, people have mentioned will I retire, and I actually don't feel I'm ready to retire yet."

After two strong MLS seasons largely free from major injuries, Beckham says he's leaving Los Angeles only because he reached every goal he set for himself in his landmark move stateside in 2007. He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy last January after completing his initial five-year deal, but revealed the second year of his deal was a mutual option.

"I feel that I've been successful off the field, but on the field has always been the most important thing for me," Beckham said. "To be able to win a championship last year, that was the final goal for me with this team."

Given Beckham's acumen for managing his worldwide celebrity alongside his playing career, his next destination could be the A-League, where five Australian clubs have confirmed interest in acquiring him to boost the sport's relatively low popularity Down Under, or China's Super League, where Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka already are playing for Shanghai Shenhua.

Beckham politely declined to give any indication where he'll play in the new year — but he confirmed he plans to become an MLS owner in the near future, sounding his usual optimistic notes about soccer's future in North America. Beckham's MLS contract includes an option to purchase a franchise when his career ends.

He also did nothing to squash growing speculation he could become at least a part-owner of the Galaxy if he doesn't get an MLS expansion team.

Ukraine courts Redknapp

AP

KIEV — The Ukraine Football Federation has begun negotiations with Englishman Harry Redknapp to fill the vacant position of national coach.

Redknapp, 65, coached Tottenham from 2008 to 2012 and was named the English Premier League coach of the year in 2010. He'd been the favorite to succeed Fabio Capello as England coach this year but lost out to Roy Hodgson.

Mykhailo Fomenko, head of Ukraine's coach council and committee of national teams, said in a statement on Tuesday that "Redknapp would have a high standing among the team's players."

Fomenko said Redknapp has the "experience, coaching talent and ability to motivate players" and is "one of the best English coaches around."



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