Four short weeks ago, Kyle Beckerman was enjoying retirement from professional soccer. He had played 21 long years in Major League Soccer, with 14 of them coming in a Real Salt Lake uniform.
But four short weeks ago, an opportunity caught Beckerman’s eye. The more he learned, the more it intrigued him.
“It was going to take something really special for me to get out of retirement and take a job,” Beckerman said.
That something special is the head coaching job for the Utah Valley University men’s soccer team. Beckerman replaces Greg Maas, who has been the only coach in the program’s six-year history. Maas amassed a record of 65-42-10, took the team to the NCAA Tournament and also led it to a Western Athletic Conference title.
“When we found our new head coach, we knew exactly that he would continue to lead the legacy that we’ve started,” Utah Valley Athletic Director Jared Sumison said. “We’re a young program. We’ve amassed a great amount of wins in the seven years that we’ve been competing. And we’re in a place now where we’re going to take it to the next level with this new head coach.”
In the latter years of his career at RSL, Beckerman become more and more of a role model to the younger players on the squad. He captained the team for years, and led by example not only on the field, but off it as well — even as he was adjusting to a role where he wasn’t starting every game in the 2020 season.
As a new college coach, Beckerman is looking to bring that same mentality.
“As a player, one of the most rewarding parts of my job was helping and mentoring young players and seeing them grow,” Beckerman said. “I’m excited now to take that as a full time job.”
Beckerman admittedly didn’t have many deep connections to Utah Valley. But he did notice the men’s soccer program’s success from afar. And once he learned about more about the program’s ambition and culture, the decision to take the job was a “no-brainer,” he said.
“I also saw this university as a place where we can win,” Beckerman said.
Beckerman has never been a head coach before, and he said there are several aspects he will need to learn about the college game in particular. He added that what worked for him during his playing career — being a good teammate, constantly trying to improve and being the hardest worker in practices and games — seems to align with UVU.
“I’m going to put all the work I did as a soccer player and put it into coaching and try to get better, just like I did every day to try to get better as a player,” Beckerman said. “I think the sky is the limit for this university and for this program.”
RSL goalkeeping legend Nick Rimando is very supportive of the hire.
“I love it,” Rimando told The Salt Lake Tribune. “If his commitment to coaching is half as what it was to playing, UVU will be a program to keep your eye on.”
Beckerman said he is hoping to finalize the remainder of his coaching staff “in the next couple of days.” And he left the door open for soccer fans to potentially see some familiar faces on the sidelines with him.
“Some teammates, they could be on the staff,” Beckerman said.
The former RSL midfielder said he’s been watching some of UVU’s games lately and sees a lot to like, including a no-quit mentality and technical skill. He also said there are resources he had as a player that he will try to bring to his team.
“I’m just going to try and take it up a notch,” Beckerman said.