On November 21st, 2009, Kyle Beckerman lifted the MLS Trophy aloft as his club Real Salt Lake achieved what many deemed improbable: defeating the heavily favored Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS Cup 2009 in a thrilling penalty kick shoot out.
However, the seeds of success were planted not on the turf of Qwest Field, but rather during the American midfielder’s time on the training ground. Long considered one of the hardest workers in Major League Soccer, Beckerman has always made a concerted effort to improve his game through his tireless efforts on the training pitch.
“I always make sure that I take everything one day at a time so that I can improve as a player,” said Beckerman. “In order to improve, I make sure that I always stay compatible with the people who I’m playing with so that I can do my best to help the team.”
This desire to improve looks to serve the 27 year old midfielder from Crofton, Maryland well, as he goes into the season with an MLS Cup sized target on his back as Real Salt Lake prepares its title defense. In addition to defending their title, Beckerman also has an eye on World Cup, as he looks to earn a spot with the United States Men’s National Team. Despite the added pressure, Beckerman has not changed his routine in preparation for the season, even after winning the championship.
“The big thing about getting better for the season is getting rest. I try to stay away from soccer for about two to three weeks, a lot of treadmill work before I got back to training once again,” said Beckerman. “It’s mostly just about getting rest because once you get that running base back, the soccer comes back pretty quickly.”
From being one of the inaugural members of the Bradenton Academy project to winning the MLS Cup, Beckerman has developed into one of the top midfielders in the United States, even becoming the quickest player to appear in 200 MLS matches. Despite the maturation of his game, the Real Salt Lake captain understands how the level of training has changed since his entrance into the league.
“In the beginning stages of the league, a lot of training was dictated with Project 40 or U-23 trips, so as soon as the season ended it was time to take these trips which kept you in shape without you doing anything (on your own). Whereas now you have to make different sacrifices doing a lot of work by yourself,” said Beckerman.
In addition to the leadership role he normally holds within RSL, Beckerman intends to help Real Salt Lake’s new draft additions acclimate to the championship club.
“I’m going to make sure that I give these guys a call so that I can welcome them to the team. It’s really important to get them prepared for the upcoming season both physically and mentally,” said Beckerman. “I’m just going to tell them and come and be ready for the team. It’s a long season, so I want them to come in being prepared and ready to play and have fun.”
Adam Serrano is a freelance soccer writer and managing editor of the BerkeleySportsBlog.com
Kyle Beckerman Player Profile
The video below was shot before Beckerman's first game with Real Salt Lake and just after he received his first cap for the U.S. national team. He's now of course won an MLS Cup and could very well be going to South Africa for the World Cup this summer.