In their final home match of the season on Wednesday Nov. 3 against Portland, Real Salt Lake honored its longtime captain and current UVU head men’s soccer coach Kyle Beckerman with a tribute pregame and at halftime.
The tributes included highlight videos of Beckerman’s achievements as a player for RSL, as well as messages of congratulations from former teammates, coaches, and even referees that he clashed with over his illustrious 21-year MLS career. The grounds crew at Rio Tinto Stadium also carved the likeness of Beckerman into the playing surface, complete with his trademark dreadlocks.
In addition to the commemorative videos, RSL announced they would be renaming section five in the stands, “Beckerman’s Block” as a permanent tribute to their captain of 13 years.
Beckerman addressed the crowd pregame, joking that he asked RSL interim head coach Pablo Masteroeni if he could suit up for the game. He went on to say that he took pride in sending the faithful fans at The RioT home “with three points in their pocket and a smile on their faces.”
“Growing up, you’re looking at the national team and guys that are pros, and you say, ‘That’s what I want to be,’” Beckerman said in an interview with ESPN’s Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman at halftime of the match. “To be honored by a professional club… I’m just extremely honored and thankful.”
Prior to officially announcing his retirement last December, Beckerman was named to the MLS’s “The 25 Greatest” list honoring the 25 best players in commemoration of the league’s 25th anniversary.
“I was able to achieve beyond my wildest dreams,” said Beckerman in an interview with The Review prior to Wednesday’s game. “To think that a professional club is honoring me, I’m just extremely grateful, proud of all the hard work I put in, and that it came with awards and an honoring at the stadium, that’s just a bonus. Really it was all just about my job as a professional soccer player, and that was the dream as a kid and I got to live that.”
Beckerman’s former squad fell to the Portland Timbers 3-1 in their final home game of the season and will look to bounce back with a victory at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, Nov. 7, needing a win and an LA Galaxy loss to qualify for the MLS playoffs.
The UVU men’s soccer team will look to clinch a playoff berth of their own on Friday, Nov. 5 when they take on the Cal Baptist Lancers at 8 p.m. MDT in Riverside, California. The WAC tournament begins Nov. 10 in Phoenix.