The 2011 MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy visited the White House yesterday—squeezing in the cross-country round-trip ahead of their LA derby vs Chivas USA on Saturday night—and President Obama used the occasion to go Don Rickles on Beckham, telling the 37-year-old midfielder that most of his teammates “could be his kids,” and that, after battling several injuries during the title run last season, Beckham is the “rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear.”
He also mixed in plenty of praise for the iconic Englishman, as well as the club, while demonstrating some solid knowledge of their 2011 season.
Here’s the clip:
Afterward, Beckham talked to the MLS website about this pinnacle of his U.S. sojourn, which started in 2007:
“It’s amazing. It’s a huge honor for every one of the players, the club, the franchise, to be invited here after the championship. And I think it’s an amazing tradition to have as well, for teams to be able to come here. Because you come out of meeting the President, and it’s a motivation—it motivates you to want to come back next year. I hope we do, because it’s a great day, a proud day for all of us.”
As with everything that enters the political sphere, though, there was some controversy: The Galaxy did not invite 10 former players to take part in the visit, including midfielder Chris Birchall (now with Columbus after a brief stint abroad), defender Frankie Hejduk (retired, and currently in the Columbus front office) and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (now with Montreal). Birchall, for one, was not pleased about being excluded.
The club did include goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who has been absent from the team since April 27 while he participates in the MLS substance-abuse treatment program.