Minimalist Club Crests by Daniel Nyari

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Welcome Back, Robbie

“You could see it on my face; I had a huge smile of enjoyment. Okay, I’m back, this is normal and very supportive. I keep saying the word: normal, normal, but it was. Once I got on and I saw the support, I just zoned in…It was good to be back and I’m excited to move on from here…I’ve kind of been on this huge journey trying to figure out my life. And now I’m back here. I think kind of where I’m supposed to be.”

On a night where the weight of history seemed overwhelming, the most remarkable part ended up being how unremarkable the entire moment seemed. Months after coming out of the closet and retiring from professional football, Robbie Rogers made his debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 77th minute of Sunday’s match against the Seattle Sounders, becoming the United States’ first openly gay, male professional athlete. Robbie jogged onto the pitch to a chorus of support from the announcing crew and the Los Angeles crowd, who both recognized the significance of the moment, but just as quickly, the focus turned back to the game. It all seemed so normal.

That’s definitely a sign of progress, but we’ve still got a ways to go. Here’s to a world in which athletes like Robbie can be just that, athletes. [Posted by Maxi. GIFs via]

Man City is scattered around New York City

For the club’s trip to the States (and the announcement of NYC FC), 85 Man City-themed posters designed by Luke Barclay were just put up across Manhattan and Brooklyn. A few have already been found, but the real kicker in this is that tweeting posters that are found to @KICKTV is the ticket to two seats at Yankee Stadium for Man City-Chelsea this Saturday.

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Landon and Barack kick it in the White House

It was all about Los Angeles at the White House this afternoon. The LA Galaxy and LA Kings were in America’s capital getting recognition as the 2012 MLS Cup champions and Stanley Cup Champions, respectively.

Landon Donovan’s self-imposed soccer exile sabbatical from the game has grown tiresome, but with the US playing Mexico tonight at the Azteca, Obama asked Landon, "You wanna take Air Force One to Mexico City? We can still make it. Just say the word." Landon politely declined, which prompted Barack Obama to pick up the ball and get on Air Force One to put the team on his back.* [*that 2nd part may or may not have happened]

Beckham only knows one way to say farewell

Yesterday good friend of AFR Rocco Cammisola tweeted, "I didn’t realise the MLS Cup Final was Beckham vs Houston. He’s bound to get outnumbered." It’s true, the media reduced this match into Beckham’s final farewell in Hollywood. But, to a degree, the attention was well-deserved. And Beckham’s leaving his legacy in American soccer as a champion, which is just how he left Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Last week, Galaxy fan and esteemed writer Maxi Rodriguez summed up his Beckham experience for us: "If Beckham found himself in the pitted grass that makes up the Home Depot Center pitch, I hope that it was a fulfilling moment, befitting of a man who gave the rest of us so much. And if he’s still searching for himself, still drawn to the allure of another adventure, at least there remains one more opportunity to provide the requiem he so deserves. I feel honored to have watched him in person, and even more so to have [had] one [last] opportunity." [Posted by Eric. GIFs by Josh and Love of USSoccer]

Beckham’s time seemed so short, but thankfully forgetting is so long

By Maxi Rodriguez, writing from Los Angeles

It’s a cliché, especially in the sports world, to describe a certain “electricity in the air” surrounding a sporting event. Used to describe everything ranging from the enthusiasm that precedes a Vegas title fight, to the excitement that surrounds certain sports memorabilia conventions (I know, I don’t understand it either.), the idiom is a crutch for the generic sportswriter in the face of stifling deadlines. And yet, after deliberating for hours since the confirmation of David Beckham’s departure from the Los Angeles Galaxy, I’ve yet to come up with a more appropriate way to describe the collective current that passed through the Home Depot Center each time David Beckham touched the ball.

Straddling the border between suburban banality and industrial mire, the Home Depot Center was an odd place to find such a cosmopolitan figure. His time with the Galaxy was similarly at odds, riddled with flaws from the outset. In the early years, intrusive journalists and fragile egos resulted in less than adequate performances for the man charged with spreading the gospel of football to an unwilling nation. Even when the team had developed a certain harmony and success seemed assured, weak knees and a weaker back gave way to the occasionally listless performance.

Even this season, as the team pulled together after a difficult start and Beckham labored through the summer circuit with an atypical dedication, justifiable concerns over his relative contribution to the team mounted. The struggles should have diminished the aura that surrounded him, but even during the most difficult stretches, the indignation and the disgruntled editorials were always overwhelmed by a persistent sense of anticipation amongst the assembled crowd at the Home Depot Center.

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"Not bad", Beckham.

The celebration contained an ounce of Cantona and a hint of Thierry Henry, but the goal was all Beckham. The opportunity presented itself, and Becks knew exactly what to do. The goal against the Portland Timbers was tremendous. His reaction? Even moreso. As Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and company rushed towards him, David said “not bad” and laughed. At 37 years old, the legend lives on.

The Galaxy experience… in the Philippines

By Thera Reyes, getting her first taste of Beckham and MLS in Manila

Two years ago, it would have been unheard of to have an international football team come to Manila. Heck, football fans even recently travelled to Malaysia to watch Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool for their Asian tours. While the country had their fair share of NBA players coming over, who would’ve thought that eventually David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and the whole gang of LA Galaxy would step foot in the Philippines?

LA Galaxy had their 3-country Asia Pacific Tour starting with the Philippines as their second stop. As expected, ticket prices were expensive for the average football fan with the lowest at Php2,000 going up to Php15,000. But this didn’t stop people from buying the tickets because finally here was the opportunity to watch world-class football players! And on December 3rd, in front of a crowd of 12,000, the LA Galaxy displayed the skills that showed why they deserved to be the reigning MLS Champions.

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Exclusive: The Beckham family is moving to London?

On the eve of one of Manchester United’s biggest matches in the club’s entire history, AFR understands that David Beckham will be making a return to English football next season, with a transfer to a London-based club much more likely than a move back to United. The Los Angeles Galaxy star has reportedly enrolled his children in top London private school Haberdashers’ Aske’s for next year, telling staff: “I will be playing at a London club next season.”

It’s hard to imagine that Beckham, playing tonight against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium, will continue playing Stateside for too much longer if his family is moving back to his homeland. To Spurs then?

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