David Beckham has confirmed that he will leave current club Los Angeles Galaxy in December.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder is, however, not retiring from the game, insisting that he wants to try one more challenge before calling time on his playing career.
"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said in a statement released on Monday (November 19).
"I don't see this as the end of my relationship with [Major League Soccer], as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.
"In my time here, I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year. I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in LA and across the States.
"Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country, and I want to always be part of growing it."
Beckham, whose spokesperson recently played down speculation linking him with a move to Australia's A-League, joined LA Galaxy in 2007 and has scored 18 goals in 102 appearances for the club.
"When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived.
"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. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the league."
Tim Leiweke - president and CEO of the Galaxy's owners AEG - added: "David not only took our franchise to another level, but he took our sport to another level.
"It has been an honour and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours."
Beckham will leave LA Galaxy after the MLS cup final on Saturday, December 1.