Quote Sheet: KB Meets with the Media

 

After announcing his retirement on Monday, Kyle Beckerman met with the media one last time. Below is a transcript of his final media availability.

 

On what led him to the decision to retire:

“I guess first of all, I was just extremely proud of all I was able to do in this game, I just felt extremely proud about that and just a lot of positive things. When I started thinking about it thinking about it I guess I just looked at this past year. I always wanted to be able to help on the field as best I could, and, as I looked at this year, I knew, being 38, I was not going to start every game or play, but I was open and whether it was going in for a little bit here or there, or starting games. But as it came down to the end I saw that I wasn’t getting in, either as a starter or substitute, even when I was healthy. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team, but if I wasn’t going to contribute on the field then I would want to stop. So, that’s how I got to that. Also, 2020 was a strain. It’s been strange, and of course I would have liked to have packed stadiums to say goodbye, but these past couple of years I never really knew when the ending could be. It could be in practice. It could be in a game. So when there were times with a full stadium I definitely tried to say my goodbyes. They might not have known, I myself might not have known either, so hopefully one day we’ll get in front of each other again and say goodbye.”

 

On potentially staying with the club in some capacity: 

“Both my parents were  school teachers, my brother is the head coach for the wrestling team at Brown University, so I kind of have coaching and teaching in my blood. It’s something I’d be interested in. I want to see Salt Lake stay a reality, fighting for everything and what we have; this beautiful stadium and these fans that love to come and get behind us. I definitely want to help in any way I can to help Salt Lake get back to fighting, for sure.” 

 

On not getting to 500 games:

“I think it irks my wife a bit more than it does me. I never really strove for things like that. But at the end knowing how close I was, even before the injury I was healthy enough to get there, so it’s unfortunate but to me it’s just a number and I just didn’t get it. It would have been nice, but I can't complain about anything. It is what it is.”

 

On how difficult the decision to retire was:

“Even before I turned pro it was soccer everyday, it’s always been go go go. I’ve always had this energy, passion and effort to get into the game and now I’m excited to be able to give that to my family and my kids too. Seeing my son run around gets me excited about what we can do. Having to be ready for practice the next day, or a game that weeked you definitely can’t exert as much energy as you would like. Yes there are things I’m going to miss, like being around the guys and going to practice, getting a workout in, having coaches go fetch balls you shoot and later in my career I tried to soak up that as much as possible. I didn’t want to take it for granted.”

 

On what Salt lake City has mean to him:

“This state and this city, I became a man here, it's where I really matured, I found my wife and it’s where my son was born. At first I didn’t know too much about it, and I could not imagine meeting my wife and having the kid be born here, but I knew that had a really good fan base. I remember playing here with Colorado and the fans being rowdy even though the team wasn’t good at the time, so when I got traded here and I saw the coaching staff and just saw what it would mean and what was here I got excited. I remember there that group of guys just really were trying to turn the franchise around because they knew how great the fans were and knew they were deserving of a winning team. I saw this blank page with fans ready to erupt and they’ve been supportive of us. They’ve stayed in the stadium during lightning storms and in snow storms, hot days and cold days, rainy weather, they’ve supported us. And when Nick Rimando and I went to the World Cup the whole city and whole state got behind us. This year showed just how important the fans are to us, taking them out of the equation and the game is just not the same. They’ve been incredible to me and my teammates, and my family. The sport is not the same without them right there with you. 

 

On what he plans to do with the free time:

“When you’re going through it you don’t have much time to sit back and look at what you’ve done. I remember one time, during the World Cup, we played Belgium on a Tuesday, flew home Wednesday night, got in Thursday morning and started a game on Friday. It’s constantly like that, on to the next one. Win, lose, or draw it’s on to the next one, we constantly have to be ready for the next game. I think now that there is no next game I can take some time and look back, watch some games. I’m definitely hoping to get my kid out to do some fishing and see him catch his first fish.”

 

On the progression of the league from the start of his career to now: 

“Yeah, it’s amazing to see. Even in the last five years, the last 10 years, the speed of growth, it just gets faster and faster, and it’s crazy to see. In those first days practicing in a spring training baseball field, getting dressed in a trailer, it’s not like I never knew any better. But to see the guys running this league, I have to give a lot of credit to Don Garber. Even when Miami folded I never wavered or thought this league was going anywhere, I didn’t know it was going to grow as fast as it did. With every new franchise that comes in it raises the level of the league and to see where it is today is just incredible. I know that in these next 25 years it’s going to explode. We’re seeing the popularity of the sport continue to grow, not just in MLS but soccer in general. It’s all over the TV now, and that is really neat to see and something really special going forward.”

 

On the extent of his reach beyond the soccer world: 

“It just makes me proud. It’s not something you aim for, I was always just trying to get ready for the next day and be a good teammate. Soccer has been around for so long and seeing the growth and popularity of the sport there was a lot of responsibility, at least for myself, to help grow the game. Because of that I was a bit more accessible to the media, to the people and the fans. It’s ingrained in a lot of the players that come in around my time that you always need to grow the game and I took that responsibility. I felt that responsibility to shine a good bright light to the game of soccer and if that meant people found out that these soccer players are accessible and that they;re nice guys and normal human beings with good hearts then maybe they would click on the TV. Players are accessible and they're nice guys and normal human beings and good hearted people that maybe they have a watch of the game or click on the TV so it was really I think, a mindset of just trying to grow the game.”

 

On a specific game that comes to mind: 

“I have got quite a few. Obviously the whole 2009 run, winning the finals gave me a sense of validation. As cliche as it is, knowing that hard work pays off, I mean it truly took me 10 years to win the MLS Cup, getting to the finals was an amazing feeling. Then the 2013 run had a really good group, and the Champions League run was so much fun. And with this final group, there was a game against LA Galaxy where we won like 6-2 and that just doesn’t happen often. Obviously LAFC games were fun and some Portland games in the Western Conference series were awesome, I could go on and on if we had the time. There are plenty of games which is a good thing and they were filled with some really good moments which is what’s important.”

 

On the emotions of deciding to retire: 

“I think I was pretty at peace with it. Leading up to last offseason I knew that I was playing without a contract for the next year, so in my mind I knew I might not be coming back, so I made sure I really soaked up the season and didn’t take anything for granted and I took that into this year. This year just in talking with my family and figuring out what next when we decided that this was it, it felt right. I didn’t find it that hard.” 

 

On what he will miss most: 

“I think just the overall togetherness, when you have a commitment with the whole team and everybody's in that together.”  

 

On how he was able to continue in his older years:
The biggest thing is just taking care of yourself and doing the basic common sense things which are to eat right, stretch and making sure you're getting enough rest. I mean, without the injuries, this year I felt good, I was happy with that and the way my body felt this year. I think it's a lot of the common sense stuff, you just got to treat your body right and it'll treat you right. Also, I think there is a part of me when I was younger and I wasn't starting and some of the older guys that were, I looked up to them and I saw how they treated their herself and they never really gave up their position with injury, they were always available and so the coach always picked them. I think I kind of told myself, if I ever get a chance to become a regular starter, I'm not giving it up easily. So, if a coach ever asked me how I was doing, I was doing great,  I could be feeling sore or whatever, but I wasn't gonna say it because I didn't want to give them any excuse not to pick me or to not to be available. So sometimes you play through things. And when you're young you might play through things that you can get through it for yourself. But as I got older and more mature  I had more responsibility on the field than I realized and sometimes you’ve got to play through things because they need you out there. And so I had no problem with that. For the most part, I was lucky not to have some really big injuries and was able to stay fairly healthy.”

 

On his new identity: 

“I’m just excited. I’m a father, husband, brother, son and I try my best at all those roles. I’ll figure out things to do. I have more time to take the dogs on a walk and go fishing, I have no doubt I will figure out stuff to do, I’m going to miss soccer no what what, that is what it is, but there is plenty out there that I can get into.”

 
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