SANDY — After several weeks of wondering and waiting, Real Salt Lake fans now have their answer.
The captain is coming back.
The team announced Tuesday morning that long-time captain and nine-time MLS All-Star Kyle Beckerman will be returning for a 12th season. The terms of the new contract were not disclosed, but the former U.S. Men's National Team player mentions that he'll be here for "a couple more years."
"This is home. It's where we wanted to be," Beckerman said in an interview with Brian Dunseth. "What we built in the second half of the season was so exciting to be a part of. To be able to be here for a couple more years and build with these young guys — they are going to be another year older and a little bit more experienced – there is a lot of upside for this team. To be here and be a part of it is exciting."
The 35-year-old defensive midfielder will return without his trademark dreadlocks, however.
"The morning the after our last game, I just started cutting," Beckerman explained. "I don't know why, I just felt I was ready for it ... now I don't know what to do about it."
The all important ♂️ question pic.twitter.com/sNisb1OSxA— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) January 16, 2018
Beckerman is Major League Soccer's all-time career leader regular-season games played, games started, minutes played and yellow cards. In 2017, unburdened by national team duty, Beckerman had a very strong season, scoring four goals in 26 matches.
"I cannot imagine an RSL team next year without Kyle here. Without Kyle with the armband on. Without Kyle leading the charge," Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke said. "I think that he is iconic here in Salt Lake, and that he is one of the best players in the history of this league. And I think he deserves and will earn anything that he gets. There will be a statue here of Kyle one day. It's a no-brainer that Kyle is back; we couldn't do this without him."
With the season just six weeks away, there is still no word on if or when RSL will re-sign longtime goalkeeper Nick Rimando.