At 33 years old, Kyle Beckerman has heard the descriptors used to describe him shift over the last couple of years. The term “grizzled veteran” gets thrown around and may be meant as a compliment, but is really just a polite way of saying that he is getting older.
He also knows that he won’t be playing forever and when he watches his peers retire – players like Landon Donovan that he has spent so much of his career playing alongside – he is reminded how fleeting a career can be. That has him cherishing every moment he has playing the game and is one reason he is excited for his call-up to the U.S. National Team’s Gold Cup roster.
“I’m just trying to relish it all. I’ve been fortunate enough to play this many seasons and get this many caps with the national team. I’ve heard the stories and I’ve talked to the guys that have retired and I try and learn as much as I can,” Beckerman said in an interview on The Bill & OC Show on ESPN 700 after Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster was announced Tuesday. “You get the message to play as long as you can and that these are the fun times. I’m trying to relish it all.”
Beckerman will be playing in his third CONCACAF Gold Cup, losing in the final to Mexico in 2009 and winning the championship in 2013. With 45 caps with the U.S. National Team, he counts the 2013 Gold Cup as one of the more enjoyable experiences he’s had in his country’s uniform.
“I had such a fun time in the last Gold Cup and to be able to win it – it’s just a really fun trip. It’s a whole month long and if you’re doing well in the tournament, it really brings the group together and it was a really fun time,” Beckerman said, noting that the additional incentive of qualifying for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia with a win adds to the luster of this year’s tournament. “There’s a lot on the line. I’m looking forward to it. It should be a fun month.”
Although he acknowledges that he is getting up in years, Beckerman also knows that he still has a lot to offer for club and country. And with the 2009 MLS Cup title already to his credit, he strives to do more for the only club he’s known since mid-2007.
“I truly enjoy playing for the team and this group of players and the coaching staff and management. It’s something that I’m going to try to keep the club moving in the right direction,” he said. “They keep bringing over players older than me and signing some long-term deals with different clubs here in MLS, so I’m not looking to stop anytime soon.”
To hear the full interview, click here.