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David Beckham’s omission from London Olympic team: ‘I desperately wanted him on the squad,’ coach says

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Stuart Pearce, the 2012 Great Britain Olympic men’s soccer coach, believes that his decision to leave David Beckham off the team led to discussions at the Prime Minister’s office about whether Pearce should have been fired.

Pearce, speaking on Talksport radio earlier this month, said he was under pressure “like you would never know” to pick Beckham for the first British Olympic soccer team since 1960.

“It’s been the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” said Pearce, a former Premier League and England national team player.

Pearce had three over-age spots for players born before Jan. 1, 1989, like the then-37-year-old Beckham. He went with Ryan GiggsCraig Bellamy and Micah Richards. He said on Talksport that Beckham’s age was not the reason he was left off (Giggs was 38).

“I wanted David in the squad. I wanted him to play well enough to set an example for the rest of the players in that squad with the way he carries himself, everything that he’d done to bring the Olympic Games to this country,” Pearce said. “I was desperate for David to be in that squad, but I also, being the football man in me, I wanted it to be a fair playing field for every player, so it was only ever going to be in my mind picked on ability.

“I was backed into a corner in many ways and couldn’t pick him purely because I knew I’d water the squad down if I did.”

Beckham’s last match for England was in 2009. He moved from Real Madrid to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 and helped the club win the 2011 MLS Cup.

Pearce went on to say that he believed there were conversations “behind my back” between Beckham’s agent and the English Football Association about him being captain of the Olympic team. Obviously, those would have been before Pearce’s surprising decision a month before the Games.

“And I even believe, from what I can gather, that once a decision was made by myself that he wasn’t going to be in the squad, it was even mentioned at Downing Street whether it was the right decision or not, whether they should replace me as the manager,” Pearce said, “which I quite understand, you know.”

Back in 2012, Beckham handled the news with a statement.

“Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me, so I would have been honored to have been part of this unique Team GB squad,” it read. “Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.”

Beckham played a role in helping London land the Games. He traveled to Singapore with the bid delegation in 2005 for the IOC members vote. He authored one of the most memorable scenes of the Opening Ceremony, driving the Olympic Flame down the River Thames on a motor boat.

Great Britain did not have an Olympic soccer team in 2016, but a women’s team is part of the Tokyo field.

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Alex Morgan gives birth to baby girl, aims to become fifth mom to make U.S. Olympic soccer team

Alex Morgan
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Alex Morgan is a mom.

Morgan, a star forward from the last two U.S. Olympic soccer teams, gave birth to baby girl Charlie Elena Carrasco on Thursday, according to her social media.

“She made us wait longer than expected, but I should have known she would do it her way and her way only,” was tweeted from Morgan’s account. “My super moon baby.”

Morgan, a 30-year-old married to fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco, announced her pregnancy on Oct. 23 and that she was due in April. She also noted that she still hoped to make the U.S. Olympic team, which was due to be named in June or early July.

“My goal is to have a healthy baby and be back on the field as soon as possible and, hopefully, be in the Olympics competing for the U.S.,” she said on a New York City hotel ballroom stage on Oct. 29.

The Tokyo Olympic postponement to July 2021 changed things.

Now, Morgan gets an extra year to return from childbirth in her bid to become the fifth mom to make a U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Defender Joy Fawcett played every minute of the 1995, 1999 and 2003 World Cups and the 1996 and 2000 Olympics as a mom. Carla Overbeck became a mom before making her second Olympic team in 2000, though she did not play in any matches in Australia.

Most recently, Kate Markgraf played in the 2008 Olympics as a mom, and Christie Pearce Rampone did so in 2008 and 2012.

Morgan will be among the moms featured on “On Her Turf: Inspiring Greatness,” a Mother’s Day special, on NBCSN on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. The three-hour show will live stream here.

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Carli Lloyd amped for Olympics in 2021, new coach after very difficult 2019

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Carli Lloyd, who at 37 is bidding to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player in history, is not dreading having to wait another year to make the team.

“I’m actually kind of excited because it gives me and my teammates another year to prepare to compete and to just push on and continue to get better,” Lloyd told Mike Tirico on NBCSN’s “Lunch Talk Live” on Tuesday. “I know that it’s obviously different with other sports because it’s very detailed as far as when you’re peaking and all of that. For a soccer player, there are details that go with the training, but it’s not heavily reliant when you’re pushing and when you’re not.”

Lloyd came out of the 2019 World Cup, where she was primarily a reserve, feeling she had earned more playing time and starts. With new coach Vlatko Andonovski, she was in the starting XI for the crucial match of Olympic qualifying in January and two of the three matches of the SheBelieves Cup in March.

She feels as fit as ever. And playing the best tactical soccer of her legendary career.

“To now have a coach who really values people, values the improvement of individuals as well as the team but also holds everybody accountable,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter how young you are. Everybody’s treated te same, and as long as you’re performing, you’re going to play. For me, that’s all I wanted. I wanted a fair shot. It’s up to me to perform.”

Making the Olympic roster will be more difficult than the World Cup team, given the number of players is reduced from 23 to 18.

Lloyd reportedly said in March that winning a third Olympic title would be satisfying enough to retire, but hasn’t flatly said that it would be her final tournament. Lloyd was captain at the Rio Olympics, where the U.S. lost to Sweden in a quarterfinal shootout.

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