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Kyle Beckerman announces retirement, ends 21-year playing career

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MLS Cup Portraits Photo by Harry How/Getty Images for MLS

Real Salt Lake legend Kyle Beckerman has officially announced his retirement from his playing career, the club announced today in a press release.

Beckerman’s career started in 2000 at Miami Fusion. He joined Colorado Rapids in 2002, where he played until he joined Real Salt Lake in mid-2007. His career ends with one MLS Cup, won in 2009 with Real Salt Lake, and 498 regular season MLS games under his belt.

Quotes from the press release follow.

Kyle Beckerman

“I came to Utah knowing there was a mountain to climb but feeling we could get to the top with a team that valued hard work, belief in ourselves and commitment to one another. We succeeded together, and I lifted a trophy for each one of you who believed in us. We created a foundation on which RSL Nation will rest for years to come,” Beckerman said in his statement. “There are so many people to thank over 21 years. I appreciate all of the teammates I’ve battled with on the field and the coaches who put their trust in me. Thank you to all of the fans who never wavered though the highs and the lows, under sunny skies and through rain, sleet to and snow. Most of all, I’m grateful to my family who have been my biggest supporters. My love for the game comes second only to you, and I know there is plenty to look forward to in this next chapter.”

RSL teammate and current assistant general manager Tony Beltran

Kyle Beckerman is an American hero – one of his Club, Utah, US Soccer and our country itself. He embodies a bygone era in MLS, one where vigor and passion are at the forefront of a primal need to vie for conquest. We will never see his like again.”

RSL general manager Elliot Fall

“There aren’t words to describe the impact Kyle has had on our club, MLS, and this community. When you think of Real Salt Lake, you think of Kyle Beckerman. He is a legend. There will never be another like him. This is the end of an era, but I’m sure the next chapter from Kyle will be special as well. That’s the kind of person he is.”

RSL coach Freddy Juarez

“Kyle is a great human being who doesn’t need or want the spotlight. He is selfless and always wanted what was best for the group. His work ethic is remarkable. Kyle gave his all every day at every training session. His smile, every time we had a 5v2, showed you the kid in him and the love he has for the game. As a coach, I’ve enjoyed every minute of watching him play, train and the leadership he displayed with the team. I am grateful for the example he set for our young players of hard work and determination. As a fan, I am grateful to Kyle for giving his heart to the sport and for being a remarkable human being off the pitch.”

RSL interim president John Kimball

“From Day One, Kyle has redefined Real Salt Lake. On and off the field, we have become champions and whether it is in captaining the team to victory or in serving as an ambassador for the game throughout Utah, he has been front and center. He is a World Class player who has become a part of our community and we can’t thank him enough for his 14 years with Real Salt Lake. We wish him and his family best of luck in the next chapter of his life. He undoubtedly will approach it with the same passion, professionalism and authenticity that he has brought to the club.”

Executive Director of the RSL Foundation Mary VanMinde

“Kyle’s impact has not only been felt on the field but in communities he has touched over his career. Kyle has worked statewide to make a difference in Utah, a state he calls home. It has been a great experience working with him to bring solar and books to the students on the Navajo Reservation. His project has made an incredible difference to so many.”