Real Salt Lake announced today that the team’s Captain, MF Kyle Beckerman, will continue to wear Claret-and-Cobalt for the next four years, as the club and 11-year MLS veteran agreed to a contract extension that will keep the 2010 World Cup South Africa hopeful with the MLS Cup 2009 champions through the end of the 2013 Major League Soccer season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal will not be announced. Today’s extension follows similar four-year pacts inked with FW Fabián Espíndola, MF Javier Morales, DF Jamison Olave, and DF Chris Wingert over the course of the last 18 months as the squad continues its attempts to lock down the talented core members of its Cup-winning roster.
“Kyle has been instrumental in changing the competitive landscape for this organization since his midseason 2007 arrival,” said RSL General Manager Garth Lagerwey. “His leadership in the locker room and each and every day in the training sessions have been clearly evident, contributing to the back-to-back Playoff runs and obviously to our Cup victory. We are thrilled that he has bought into our ‘Team is the Star’ mantra, and will be wearing a Real Salt Lake uniform – and hopefully hauling in more hardware – in the foreseeable future.”
The 2010 season marks Beckerman’s fourth season with Real Salt Lake, making 84 appearances in all competitions, including 83 starts, since joining the Utah side in July of 2007 via trade from the rival Colorado Rapids in exchange for MF Mehdi Ballouchy. The 27-year old box-to-box midfielder – and off the field clothing entrepreneur, with his “KB5” line – has posted 19 goals and 26 assists in MLS regular and postseason play across his 11-year career. Beckerman is most revered across the Wasatch Front for his five years of undefeated play in the Rocky Mountain Cup series, winning the fan-created trophy in 2005 and 2006 with Colorado before three consecutive seasons from 2007-09 capturing the Cup for Real Salt Lake, all while simultaneously eliminating the Rapids from playoff contention on the final day of each season.
"I’m very happy here – the team, the community, the organization,” said Beckerman. “I think that since we started coming together in the last couple of years, we’ve had something special going on here -- even before we won the Cup. And now I really think we have something even more special going, and I want to be a part of it."
Beckerman recently made his 12th career appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team, notching one goal since his senior international debut in 2007. The 2010 U.S. World Cup hopeful ended stints at U.S. MNT camps in January and February of 2010 with starts in friendlies on 1/23/10 v. Honduras (60 min.) at The Home Depot Center (1-3 L) and 2/24/10 v. El Salvador (79 min.) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa (2-1 W). Beckerman’s 10th “cap” came via a 10-minute appearance v. El Salvador last Sept. 5 in a World Cup Qualifier at Rio Tinto Stadium, helping the USA hold on to a 2-1 victory. Beckerman played in all six of the USA’s contests in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, starting five while also scoring his first goal at the senior international level on July 18 v. Panama in the quarterfinal round, his 49th minute equalizer helping the USA advance in a 2-1 extra-time win in Philadelphia.
The three-time MLS All-Star bypassed college and signed with Major League Soccer as an 18-year old in June, 2000, shortly after graduating from Crofton, Maryland’s Arundel High School. Joining MLS as a Project-40 player for the now-defunct Miami Fusion FC, Beckerman counted current Real Salt Lake personalities Nick Rimando, Garth Lagerwey and Jeff Cassar among his teammates. Despite an injury-filled start to his MLS career during two years in Miami, Beckerman has appeared in a minimum of 25 regular season games each MLS season since 2003 – culminating in his first Cup championship last November in Seattle, an accomplishment to be honored at Real Salt Lake’s home opener on Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC.
Saturday’s early-season Western Conference showdown at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy begins with the opening of the Carnival Real pre-game festival on the stadium’s East Lawn at 5:00 p.m. MT. Fans will want to take their seats plenty early for Saturday’s pre-game ceremony beginning around 6:30 p.m., when the unfurling of the MLS Cup 2009 Championship banner from the Rio Tinto Stadium rafters and the issuing of the 2009 championship rings to remaining members of the team’s roster, coaching staff and ownership will take place. That will certainly get “RSL Nation” worked into a fever pitch for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff, when Real Salt Lake and Seattle will look to get back into the win column following hard-fought losses in Week 2 action.