Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Ghana's Mohammed Rabiu, left, and United States' Kyle Beckerman struggle with each other to head the ball during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Kragthorpe: Kyle Beckerman’s a World Cup discovery, on and off field

Soccer » U.S. midfelder gaining national attention for both his play and his looks.

By Kurt Kragthorpe

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jun 30 2014 08:40 am • Last Updated Jun 30 2014 10:39 pm

The world suddenly is discovering Kyle Beckerman. After all these years in Major League Soccer, the Real Salt Lake midfielder is a phenomenon of the World Cup, receiving all kinds of attention from fans and a wide swath of the media.

"It’s good to see him getting recognition," said longtime RSL teammate Nick Rimando.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Some of it even has to do with soccer.

Beckerman will be featured again as a starting midfielder Tuesday, when the U.S. Men’s National Team faces Belgium in the World Cup’s round of 16. He’s thriving internationally, and his value also is increasing due to his absence locally, as RSL struggles while he’s away.

Beckerman’s prominent role has served as validation for himself and RSL. He’s a breakout star of the Americans’ showing in Brazil, as much as any defense-oriented player could be.

Beckerman has received consistently high grades from reviewers after each game, playing aggressive defense and passing the ball efficiently. But that stuff is only part of his appeal. His appearance on this world stage is evoking all kinds of reactions, in a Kyle Korver sort of way.

It seems that everybody’s latching onto him. The Huffington Post suggested the recently married Beckerman and his wife, Kate, "might be soccer’s most beautiful couple," while distributing a series of their engagement photos taken at Rio Tinto Stadium and in a canyon setting.

The New York Daily News quoted experts who strongly endorsed his dreadlocks. Mike Potter, a Broadway makeup artist, described his hairstyle as "Fabio meets Bob Marley — and he’s pulling it off."

Vogue showcased him among "12 hot soccer players in the World Cup" and Buzzfeed cited an "unhealthy obsession" with his looks. Even the San Diego Jewish Journal chimed in, noting Beckerman’s heritage.

So he’s blowing up in America, while being only somewhat aware of the buzz about him. The U.S. players have encountered fans who "let us know that it’s kind of crazy back in the States," Beckerman said Monday, during a conference call with Utah media members. "It sounds like we’ve got the World Cup fever or something, which is great to hear."


story continues below
story continues below

Even if his brand is expanding, nothing apparently is distracting Beckerman from his job on the field.

"Kyle’s Kyle," Rimando said. "He’s not going to change. … He’s keeping a steady mind and a humble head and just going out and doing his work."

Beckerman obviously is not intimidated by the level of competition in his first World Cup appearance at age 32. His dependable play has freed up teammate Jermaine Jones to join in the offensive attack, and he’s rewarded coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s belief in him.

So the World Cup has been a lot of fun for the RSL fans who have watched him play for six years, and they hope his stay in Brazil will continue beyond Tuesday. They’d also like to have him back at Rio Tinto Stadium, considering how Real is 1-3-2 in MLS play — plus a U.S. Cup loss — without Beckerman, Rimando and Alvaro Saborio, who was injured during Costa Rica’s preparation.

The World Cup experience is a huge career breakthrough for Beckerman, though, and he’s enjoying every bit of it. "It’s been a blast," he said. "We’re hoping that we can keep it going."

Soon enough, he’ll return to his low-key lifestyle in the Salt Lake Valley, where his dreadlocks blend right in.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.