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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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Kyle Beckerman answers questions during training in preparation for the World Cup soccer tournament on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Real Salt Lake: Beckerman discusses the World Cup

Kyle Beckerman, RSL’s midfield maestro, has secured his place in the U.S. Men’s National Team and discussed his thoughts ahead of the World Cup with Grantland.com’s Men in Blazers podcast Monday.

Among the highlights included his experience in the a World Cup qualifying match against Panama last October, how he ended up playing in the midfield and the mood among the team as the tournament approaches.

On the Panama qualifier: Beckerman said the Panamanian midfielders were trying to get him to ease up on his play, but he pressed on to ensure his place in the final World Cup squad. "They were trying to get us to take it easy on them," Beckerman said.

On ending up in the midfield: "I’m just like everybody else. I want to score the goals, I want all that stuff, but when you become a pro, you’ve got to find a way to get on the field. When you’re a young player and they’ve got older players, veterans that are scoring the goals, you’ve got to find a way to get on there. I had to adapt and now I enjoy making the offender squeal."

On notes he’d leave for his parents while going out to play soccer as a kid: "I thought, ‘this is what I want to do, I want to be a professional soccer player,’ and that for me meant playing for the U.S. National Team. If I wasn’t going to be home or my parents were going to be home or my parents were going to get home, I’d leave them a note to let them know where I’d be. No matter what, if I’m at the school playing soccer, I’m down at Johnny’s house, it always ended with Kyle Beckerman in cursive, my autograph, and ‘USA number 15.’"

On the mood in the camp: "It’s really just kind of switched on. It’s always a competition. I think all the best teams out there, they always have competition in their team, they’re backed up at left back, right back, midfield, everywhere. That just makes the team better. I come into work everyday and try to do everything I can to beat out the guy in front of me and make sure that I’m doing everything I can to be in the starting 11. If that doesn’t happen, of course I’m going to be a positive person, not be the negative and somebody who is going to pout and be a negative to the team. I’m always going to be competing to be in the starting 11."

On the hot and humid conditions in Brazil: "A lot of us have grown up playing in humid, hot places and with big travel, so hopefully this will be an advantage that we can take with us over there."

You can watch the entire interview here, beginning at the 54th minute mark:

— Brennan Smith

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