With the announcement today of Kyle Beckerman’s retirement, the big question on everyone’s mind: What’s next for the now-former 21-year professional soccer player?
In a press conference today, Beckerman said teaching was “in my blood.”
“Both my parents were school teachers,” he said. “My brother is the head coach for the wrestling team at Brown. I have coaching and teaching in my blood. It’s definitely something I’d be interested in, for sure. I’d like to see Real fighting for everything. we have this beautiful stadium with fans fighting behind us, and we want to send them home happy.
“I want to help in any way I can to get Salt Lake back up to fighting for everything, for sure.”
Beckerman’s retirement doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. At 38, he ends his career with the second-highest minutes total in league history, behind only his former RSL teammate, Nick Rimando.
“I just looked at this past year and I just always wanted to help on the field as best I could,” he said. “As I looked at this year, I knew being 38, I’m not going to start every game — whether it’s going in for a little bit here or there or starting games.”
For Beckerman, the end comes at least in part after he stopped getting minutes, even when he wasn’t beset by an injury that kept him from reaching his 500th regular season MLS appearance.
“As it came down to it, and I saw I wasn’t getting in in important games when I was healthy — I still felt like I was going to do whatever I could do to help the team — going forward, I felt if I wasn’t going to contribute on the field, I was going to stop.”
Still, Beckerman isn’t too bothered hitting a less round number in 498 games played.
“I mean, it irks my wife a bit more than it does me,” he said. “I never really strove for things like that. At the end, knowing how close I was — I was healthy for enough games to get it, so it’s unfortunate, but it was just a number. It would have nice, but I can’t complain about anything. It is what it is.”
Beckerman’s retirement felt natural, he told reporters. He’s focusing his time now on family.
“This year, just talking with my family and figuring out what’s next, when we decided this was right, it felt right,” Beckerman said. “I didn’t find it that hard. I’m just excited. I’m a father; I’m a husband, brother, son. I’m going to try to do my best at all those roles. I’ll figure out things to do. It gives me more time for dog walks, fishing — I’ll figure out stuff to do. I’m going to miss some soccer stuff no matter what, but there’s plenty out there I can get into.”
Beckerman’s retirement now means he experiences Real Salt Lake as a fan. He said he’s looking forward to an owner that will support and invest in the team.
“As for RSL, I’m excited,” he said. “I’m hopeful a new owner comes and he’s excited, he wants to give RSL the best possibility to compete and really go after things and try to fight for everything that outs there. I’m really hopeful as an RSL fan that a new owner will come in and bring everything that’s needed for this community.”