LA Galaxy to unveil David Beckham statue ahead of 2019 season opener

The LA Galaxy will unveil a statue of David Beckham at Dignity Health Sports Park prior to the team's season opener against the Chicago Fire on March 2, a club spokesman has confirmed to ESPN FC.

The statue, which came to light in a mailing to Galaxy season-ticket holders, is believed to be the first such honor bestowed by a Major League Soccer club on a player. It will be positioned near the main entrance to the venue, which has served as the Galaxy's home since 2003. Beckham is expected to attend the unveiling.

Beckham holds a cherished place in both Galaxy and MLS history. He was the first player to be signed via the league's Designated Player rule -- informally known as the "Beckham Rule" -- which allowed teams to sign high-profile players whose impact on the salary cap would be limited to a set amount.

At the time of his arrival in 2007, Beckham was already a worldwide icon, having previously starred for Manchester United and Real Madrid. His time at Old Trafford saw him win a total of 12 trophies, including a UEFA Champions League title in 1999. Beckham capped off his four-year spell with Real Madrid by helping the club to a La Liga title in 2007.

For those reasons, Beckham's signing was a coup for the Galaxy and MLS, and it did plenty to increase the profile of both the team and league. His arrival later opened the door for other high-profile players to move to MLS clubs, including Thierry Henry with the New York Red Bulls, David Villa with New York City FC, and Didier Drogba with the Montreal Impact.

Beckham's early years with the Galaxy were blighted by an injured Achilles, as well as loan spells with AC Milan that tested the patience of Galaxy fans, even as he pursued one last appearance with England at a World Cup. But following his return from injury, Beckham -- with the help of fellow designated players Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane -- led the Galaxy to a stellar run that included Supporters Shield crowns in 2010 and 2011 as well as MLS Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2012.

Beckham made 122 league, playoff and cup appearances during his time with the Galaxy, scoring 19 goals and finished his career with Paris. Saint-Germain, helping the club win a Ligue 1 title in 2012-13.

At the international level, Beckham made 115 appearances for England, scoring 17 goals. He took part in three World Cups in 1998, 2002 and 2006 as well as two UEFA European Championships in 2000 and 2004.

Beckham has remained involved with MLS following the end of his playing career. He is one of the owners of Inter Miami CF, which is slated to begin play in 2020.