SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) - He's the captain, the face of the franchise, a 9-time all-star. Kyle Beckerman simply had to stay with Real Salt Lake.
"I wanted to be here," Beckerman said after signing a new contract with the club. "I had some really good conversations with Mike [Petke] and Dell Loy [Hansen] throughout the season and at the end of the season. Their vision aligned with mine in where we want to see this club. It felt like this is the right place for me, and I wanted to be here, they wanted me here."
Even though he is 35 years old, Beckerman is coming off one of his strongest seasons in which he scored four goals, his most since 2013. Beckerman is the league's career leader in MLS regular-season games played (432), games started (403) and minutes played (36,020) among field players.
In his 11 seasons with RSL, Beckerman has 284 appearances, 279 starts, 29 goals and 33 assists in MLS regular-season action. Across all competitions, including CONCACAF Champions League and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and postseason games, Beckerman has 338 appearances, 329 starts, 33 goals and 37 assists.
Missing the playoffs last season by one point was tough, but the team finished strong under Petke, and Beckerman is confident RSL can return to the postseason.
"I hope so," he said. "That's what I'm definitely thinking we're just going to keep moving just like they did at the end. But it's going to take a lot of work, a lot of hard work. I know Mike wants to implement a lot of his stuff. As time when on, I think Mike's system and personality started to rub off on the team."
Sporting a new look after cutting off his infamous dread locks, Beckerman is getting double takes from everybody.
"Yeah, I think I'm getting double takes when I look in the mirror," he said. "I'm not sure who that is."
Now that Beckerman's deal is done, it sounds like RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando is close to re-signing too.
"It should be almost everything is done," Beckerman said. "You guys just haven't heard about it."
Real Salt Lake kicks off the 2018 season March 3rd at FC Dallas.
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