You know he’s looking out for his two center backs, and he’s cleaning up whatever comes his way and he holds his position. That gives us another option, another card that we can play out there because we know he gets his job done. —U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann
As the United States Men's National Team's first World Cup match nears, there has been no shortage of great stories about Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando.
The Real Salt Lake duo both made the final cut for the national team, and Beckerman will start in tonight's game against Ghana.
The Miami Herald published an in-depth article about how Beckerman showed up in Fort Lauderdale to play for the now-defunct MLS team Miami Fusion as a "floppy-haired, reggae-loving 18-year-old."
Writer Michelle Kaufman quotes U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann on why he's so important to the team:
"We often talked about Kyle, and we keep talking about him. He’s one that covers others’ backs, and that’s literally what he’s doing in the six role. You know he’s looking out for his two center backs, and he’s cleaning up whatever comes his way and he holds his position. That gives us another option, another card that we can play out there because we know he gets his job done."
The Delmarva Daily Times profiled Beckerman's parents on how his love of the game — and his goal of playing for the national team — was there at an early age. They also revealed how Kyle had trouble finding minutes on his high school team.
"We had a meeting with the coach, and it was sort of like, we have a really good team and we'll see if we can find him some playing time," Paul Beckerman told the Daily Times. "We just sort of looked at each other like ... really? Here is a national team player, and this high school coach we don't really know was saying we'll see if we can find him some playing time."
Rimando was also a mainstay on the U.S. national youth squads and a big soccer fan as a kid. He recently talked to MLS.com about his favorite World Cup memory and growing up in Southern California, near the site of one of the national team's most famous victories.
The third-string goalie recently received some SoCal love as L.A. Dodgers superstar Yasiel Puig tweeted out a picture of him wearing Rimando's jersey.
Former RSL player and current Harrisburg City Islanders defender Raphael Cox gave a shout-out to Rimando and Beckerman in The Patriot News. He outlines how both are great teammates and are both a great fit for the Yanks.
Roger Bennett of ESPN's Men in Blazers podcast also made social waves on Monday. He has said several times that he has a recurring dream of a Kyle Beckerman wonderstrike that wins the World Cup title for the United States. One of his listeners recreated the dream in the video game FIFA 14.