Kyle Beckerman has been dreaming of playing for the US in the World Cup since he was just a kid. The holding midfielder has proved to be both diligent and ambitious in his professional career, and is overjoyed to be playing in Brazil this summer.
Read on to find out some things you’d want to know about the Maryland native before the US plays Ghana on Monday.
1. This Is His First World Cup Appearance
— Kyle Beckerman (@KyleBeckerman) May 27, 2014
Despite his extensive professional career, Beckerman has never played in a World Cup. In July of last year, the player was called for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he started in five out of six games. He played the full 90 minutes of the game on July 28, and won against Panama, earning him his first Gold Cup title.
Beckerman has dreamed of playing in a World Cup since childhood. When talking to The Baltimore Sun about the event, he said,
Each day, it sinks in more and more that it’s really happening.
Beckerman said up until the moment he arrived in Brazil for the Cup, he felt like he was dreaming.
2. He Was a Wrestler
In 1999, Beckerman played in the Under-17 World Cup in New Zealand. He also won the state wrestling title as a freshman at his Maryland high school, DeMatha Catholic High School. Before that, though, Beckerman followed in his brothers footsteps as a wrestler. Todd was four years older than Kyle, and was an All-American wrestler at Nebraska. In 1997, while juggling the two sports, Kyle won a Maryland Independent School wrestling championship. He decided to give up the sport and transfer to Arundel High School to focus on soccer, though.
Beckerman’s athleticism as a child didn’t go unnoticed. His childhood classmates said that when the younger kids would get together to play the older kids in soccer at recess, people were shocked at Beckerman’s skill set, and were dumbfounded that the kid was only in second grade.
Another longtime friend, Ryan McCaley, described him as a soccer prodigy who dazzled everyone with his ability.
3. He Only Played 110 Minutes In His First Professional Year
The Miami Fusion signed Beckerman two days after he joined MLS in 2000. His first two years with the league were largely inactive, though– at least in the professional sense. He clocked in only 110 minutes of playing time the first year, and only 14 minutes during the second year (when he, incidentally, broke his leg.)
Beckerman was the 11th overall choice in the 2002 MLS Dispersal Draft, signing with the Colorado Rapids– he played 477 minutes with the Rapids his first year.
His second year with the Rapids was the site of his professional success. Beckerman started in 24 games and played for over 2,000 minutes. He continued to play successfully in 2004 and on.
In 2007, the soccer star was traded to Real Salt Lake, and just one year later, he became the team’s captain.
4. He Was the Youngest Player in MLS History To Appear In 200 Games
After playing with RSL for two years, Beckerman became the youngest player to appear in 200 games. Representing the US in soccer is nothing Beckerman is a stranger to, though. In 1997, at age 15, Beckerman was a member of the U-16 National Team against France. In total, he played for the U-17 National Team 40 times, reeling in 15 goals. He also started all six games in the 1999 FIFA World Championships, at age 17.
Check out their engagement photos here.
5. He’s Married
Kyle met his fiance, Kate Pappas, in 2009. Pappas is an account supervisor at Love Communications, and the two met at a video shoot for the Salt Lake team at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kate’s job was to hold cue cards for Kyle.
Kyle popped the question on a hike to Ensign Peak in Utah.