LA Galaxy open Legends Plaza
LA Galaxy opening day was both busy and rainy. The newly renamed home of the Galaxy, Dignity Health Sports Park, had its official unveiling. A number of changes were presented to the Galaxy faithful as they braved the rain.
The Galaxy and AEG held a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the new Dignity Health Sports Park sign early this afternoon. The location is also home to Legends Plaza in front of the Team LA Store at the Main Entrance.
The rain stopped just in time for David Beckham to step out onto the stage at Legends Plaza ahead of his statue unveiling. The event was not without the pomp and circumstance of such an occasion. Rob Stone hosted the presentation of the David Beckham statue, the 1st of its kind in MLS. Commissioner Don Garber, Bruce Arena, Robbie Keane, Todd Dunnivant, Mike Magee, Cobi Jons and Mauricio Cienfuegos were all in attendance to pay tribute to one of soccer’s biggest icons.
Galaxy President Chris Klein received several loud “BOOs” as he was announced by host Rob Stone and when he came up to give his speech. Many fans feel that Klein is directly responsible for the team’s downturn the past few seasons. Klein however did his best to brush off the jeers.
Former Galaxy GM, Doug Hamilton’s widow, Paige Hamilton was also in attendance. She received a nice round of applause as she was announced by Rob Stone. Doug Hamilton passed away after suffering a heart attack while on a return flight from an away match in Costa Rica in 2006. Hamilton is one of three people the Galaxy have inducted to the Ring of Honor. Beckham was the fourth to be inducted at halftime of LA v Chicago later in the evening.
Robbie Keane shared some nice words for his friend Beckham as he recounted Beckham convincing him to join him in LA while he was at a training stint at Tottenham. Keane remembered Becks speaking highly of the league, saying that it would be something massive in about 10 years time. Keane said after that, it was an easy decision. Keane joined Beckham in 2011 and was the catalyst that propelled them to an MLS Cup win in 2011 and 2012. Keane also went on to say that Beckham was not only a great father, but a loyal husband and friend. Keane thanked him for welcoming him and his family from day one, and noted that the league has changed because of him. Keane couldn’t resist in closing out his speech saying that he hoped to see everyone back next year when they unveil his statue.
Beckham was brought to tears as the statue was unveiled. As the man of the hour came to the mic, he thanked the city for their warm welcome when he and his family first arrived in LA. A man who was truly humbled by the honor that the LA Galaxy has bestowed upon him, going as far as thanking the kit man, Raul Vargas in referring the Galaxy organization as a family. He did not shy away from his rocky start with the team as he said that “it wasn’t always easy, I know, I know, and for that, I apologize.” He went on to say that he hoped he won fans over, acknowledging that his arrival was not going to be a successful until they found success on the field. Beckham closed out by saying that people used to tell him that LA was a place where dreams come true, and today, a dream came true.