Australian clubs still trying to lure Beckham


Australian clubs still trying to lure Beckham

SYDNEY (AP) David Beckham's decision to leave the Los Angeles Galaxy is generating more speculation in Australia that the former England captain could make a move to the A-League.

The 37-year-old Beckham has announced that his six-season stint in U.S. Major League Soccer will end with the Dec. 1 MLS Cup against Houston.

Five Australian clubs have confirmed interest in bringing Beckham to the A-League, with the Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers considered the top contenders due to the cosmopolitan nature of the two cities.

Last week, Beckham's management company denied reports he was headed to Australia.

Perth, Adelaide and the Gosford-based Central Coast Mariners all expressed interest, while Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory have previously indicated they won't pursue Beckham.

``We're putting forward an offer. It's compelling and the opportunity is here for him to come here,'' Melbourne Heart chief executive Scott Munn said Tuesday

``What I can say is that it's certainly real. ... That is absolutely legitimate,'' Munn said. ``Let's let David get through next week, play the final of the MLS and hopefully he'll have a win. Then I'm sure he'll assess every offer.''

Beckham has been a big influence on the growth in popularity of the MLS since he joined the Galaxy, and even a short 10-week stint in Australia could generate extra interest in the fledgling A-League.

The Australian competition is already breaking its records this season after recruiting Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Japan's Shinji Ono.

Beckham hadn't given any overt indications he was planning to leave the Galaxy after this season with a year left on his deal, and last week his management pointedly denied rumors linking him to a short-term stint in Australia.

But he released a statement in conjunction with the Galaxy late Monday saying he had an ``incredibly special time'' playing for the club, ``However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.''

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria, have been living in Los Angeles with their sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz.

``There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived,'' MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. ``David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history.''

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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