Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman is a cool, laid-back figure off the field, but "a monster" on it, writes Randy Davis. Away from soccer, the dreadlocked surfer strums an acoustic guitar like the archetypal dude without a care, but when he plays "he gets carried away with adrenaline and has the yellow cards to show for it. He makes tough tackles, and has a motor that never quits."
"In the game I'm so focused and sometimes too emotional," Beckerman admitted. "Off the field, real mellow." But he's not so mellow when it comes to discussing his former team, the Colorado Rapids. "At a certain point it got to where I felt like it was my team, it was me and Pablo [Mastroeni]," said Beckerman. "I felt like I can't just sit back. I have to do more and provide more for the team, so we can get some wins." But under the Rapids' recently resigned coach Fernando Clavijo there was no unity. "I didn't really like him as a coach. Everybody was not on the same page. It seems like it was the players versus the staff."
On the field this meant, "you didn't really know what you were doing. We kind of went out, and it was kind of a crapshoot how we were going to do." Although his trade to Salt Lake was a "total shock," coming as it did right after his first All-Star selection and his senior U.S. debut, Beckerman said he's happy with it now and thinks that, compared with its Rocky Mountain rival, the Utah team has better organization, coaching staff and attitude.