MLS: Beckham would be happy to return

2012-02-28T00:00:00Z 2012-02-28T19:24:23Z MLS: Beckham would be happy to returnDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 28, 2012 12:00 am  • 

If Major League Soccer returns to Tucson in the upcoming years, that appears to be just fine with David Beckham.

Speaking after the Los Angeles Galaxy's practice at Kino Sports Complex on Monday, the star midfielder praised the facilities, the graciousness of Tucsonans and the intensity of the Desert Diamond Cup matches.

"It's been great. We've been treated very well," Beckham said. "The hospitality has been incredible. And we've worked hard.

"To come to a place like Arizona, like Tucson, and be treated the way we've been treated, trained on the pitches we've trained on, it helps in your preparation unbelievably well."

But that doesn't mean he's been limited to the field and his hotel room.

"We've been out to a few places, had a glass of wine in a few other places. It's been nice," he said.

Beckham has responded to the hospitality in kind by spending quite a while signing autographs after each match.

"It's no different to what I do in different places," said Beckham, 36. "Everyone's been so great to us it's important that you show fans your appreciation."

But the London native, who became a worldwide phenom with Manchester United and England's national team in the 1990s, knows what the real task at hand is - getting ready for the regular season.

The Desert Diamond Cup "is a good work out for us as well because we've got a few big games coming up in the next couple weeks and we need to be ready," he said. "I'm almost there (to being fully fit). I think most of the players feel the same. I think the first game was a little bit difficult. The other game, against Salt Lake, we all felt a lot better than we did in the first game. We're progressing, which is important."

The Galaxy starts with a CONCACAF Champions League match on March 7 in Toronto and will begin its defense of the MLS Cup with a home match against Real Salt Lake on March 10.

Beckham, who signed wth the Galaxy in 2007, realizes defending the title will be difficult.

"We need to perform like we did last year, if not better because when you're the champion, teams are going to work a little bit harder," he said. "That's what we are going to come up against this year.

"But we've brought some new players in and we've still got the majority of our squad together. That's a big thing because you need stability. But we just need to perform like we did last year. We had a great season last year, but that's over now. We are champions, but that's in the past. Now we need to do it again this season."

Until then, Beckham will continue to enjoy Tucson.

"Facility-wise it's great. Interest-wise it's great. As long as we don't play in Tucson in the summer, then I don't care," he said. "I've been to different places in America and played in different places, and this is up there with those. The excitement the other night with Salt Lake was a great atmosphere."

If you go

• What: Desert Diamond Cup

• Where: Kino Stadium

• When: Wednesday

• Who: Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 6 p.m.; L.A. Galaxy vs. N.Y. Red Bulls, 8 p.m.

• Tickets: www.fctucson.com

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