Real Salt Lake signs Kyle Beckerman to new contract for 2020 season

(Ted S. Warren | AP file photo) Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman (5), right, challenges Seattle Sounders forward Nicolas Lodeiro during the first half of an MLS Western Conference semifinal playoff soccer match Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Seattle.

Herriman • Once it was revealed that Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman was out of contract after last season, speculation started circling about whether the veteran would be back for 2020.

Although he is a legend at the club and the last remaining member of the 2009 MLS Cup championship season, he also turns 38 this year and has shown some signs of slowing down. Many RSL fans wondered if the team would be better off having Beckerman come off the bench rather than playing starter’s minutes.

But both Beckerman and RSL wanted an extra year, and on Monday, he officially got it. The club announced just minutes before training began that he would return for the 2020 season.

Beckerman said he felt excited about being back with the team and the community he’s called home for the last 13 years. But he’s still undecided about whether the 2020 season will be has last.

“I just go one day at a time,” Beckerman said after the team finished its first preseason on-field training session.

Beckerman is entering his 14th season with RSL and 21st overall in Major League Soccer. He said playing another year had always interested him, but it came down to whether the club wanted him back.

Beckerman said there were “a couple of times” he doubted that he’d be back with RSL, but once the two sides sat down and talked, they got on the same page and worked out a deal.

“It probably just took a little longer than it probably could have,” Beckerman said. “But we’re here.”

Beckerman said there wasn’t a point where it was possible he’d play for another team in 2020.

“It was either I play here or I would retire,” he said.

RSL coach Freddy Juarez said Beckerman will still be captain of the team. He added that it was too early to say whether the veteran midfielder will get the same amount as playing time as in previous years. Beckerman’s age won’t be a factor in those decisions, Juarez said.

A few people with the team said Beckerman’s impact on the locker room is invaluable. RSL general manager Elliot Fall said he saw Beckerman keep his teammates accountable and had a positive impact on the overall work ethic even on the first day of camp.

Juarez described Beckerman as “a friend” to the rest of the players and a someone who can connect the younger guys to the older ones.

“Kyle is a good guy in the dressing room and he definitely contributed last season,” defender Nedum Onuoha said. “So the more people you have like that who fit in with the culture, it’s definitely moving the club in the right direction.”