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Maryland’s Kyle Beckerman Scores His Way to FIFA World Cup

A Crofton native and Real Salt Lake player is a midfielder on the U.S. team competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Kyle Beckerman is a midfielder on the U.S. team competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Credit: Screenshot from Kyle Beckerman's Story - "One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories."
Kyle Beckerman is a midfielder on the U.S. team competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Credit: Screenshot from Kyle Beckerman's Story - "One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories."
Maryland's own Kyle Beckerman, complete with his trademark dreadlocks, was in the thick of Monday’s historic match when the United States kicked off play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

ESPN’s statistics for the game show Beckerman with two fouls drawn and one foul committed as the Americans triumphed 2-1 over Ghana -- revenge for the U.S. team which had been knocked out by the Ghana squad in the past two World Cups.

For Beckerman, 32, of Crofton, traveling to Brazil to play in the World Cup -- a month-long tournament that consumes soccer fans worldwide -- is a dream come true. He’ll take to the pitch against Portugal on Sunday at 6 p.m. ESPN will stream the game.

“I’m extremely humbled and honored to represent the United States in the #2014WorldCup #OneTeamOneNation,” Beckerman tweeted May 22.

Growing up, Beckerman would write notes for his mother telling her he was playing soccer -- at school, down the street, wherever. As part of the “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories” video series from ussoccer.com, Beckerman says he always left the notes with his autograph and “USA #15.”

“For me, that’s what I wanted to be -- a national team player.” Beckerman said. “That was it. I made up my mind back then. So, it’s pretty cool to be here now.”

Beckerman attended his first World Cup in 1994, according to The Baltimore Sun. And 20 years later, he is playing in his first World Cup as a midfielder for the U.S. team. The Americans aren’t given good odds of advancing in what has been dubbed the Group of Death, and also includes powerhouse Germany.

Friends and classmates from Crofton Woods Elementary School were impressed by Beckerman’s skills even as a child, the Sun reports.

“The sport of choice at recess was soccer and the games were dominated by older kids,” classmate John Hanczaryk told the Sun. “When Kyle started scoring goals, the fifth-graders were in awe. They kept asking, ‘He’s in second grade?’”

Beckerman has played with the Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer team since 2007, the Washington Post reports. He was named captain after his first year.

In his video, Beckerman says that he never went to college -- soccer took priority -- but enjoys reading about history now.

“I wanna play soccer. I wanna play soccer. I could care less about school. I just wanna play,” Beckerman said.

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