OREM, Utah (ABC4) – One of Utah’s biggest professional soccer icons is remaining in the state to coach at the collegiate level.
Utah Valley University announced the hiring of former Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman as the head coach of the men’s soccer program, Monday.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my career was when I had the opportunity to help mentor my teammates in leading by example and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained over the years,” says Beckerman. “I’m looking forward to stepping into that role full time and dedicating myself to developing these young student-athletes into better players and people.”
The announcement was preluded by a mysterious tweet from the soccer program which appears to be a silhouette of Beckerman juggling a ball on his head.
Beckerman played a storied career in Major League Soccer, finishing as the league’s all-time leader in games played and started, as well as minutes played. He began his professional career in 2000, joining the now-defunct Miami Fusion as an 18-year-old from Maryland.
After a brief stop with the Colorado Rapids, Beckerman was traded to Real Salt Lake in 2007, where he spent the rest of his playing days until his retirement in December 2020. He began wearing the captain’s band in 2008 and was in the captain role when Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup.
In addition to a legendary career at the club level, Beckerman also made 58 appearances with the U.S. national team, including a few starts in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“He’s beloved in the soccer world and in the state of Utah,” says UVU athletics director Jared Sumsion. “He’s the perfect fit for our program now and into the future.”
Beckerman, in his first coaching gig, will be replacing Greg Maas as the Wolverines’ head coach. Maas started the program from scratch in 2013 and racked up 67 wins over six years before stepping down on March 28 to pursue other career opportunities. Maas took the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament in 2015, a major accomplishment, considering the program was just two years old at the time.
Maas wished the Wolverines’ new head coach good fortune after the announcement was made on social media.
Last season, with a shortened schedule, the Wolverines finished 3-4, including a 2-4 mark in WAC play.