Like any responsible soccer player does at some point in his career, Kyle Beckerman has been thinking more and more lately about life after soccer. The Real Salt Lake midfielder knows he can't make a living playing a game forever, though retirement is a long way off with six or seven good years left in his hybrid-like tank.
Always willing to keep an open mind, Beckerman tossed around post-soccer career options this past offseason with buddies Ricky Lewis, Seth Trembly and Dan Gargan.
The four of them kicked around the idea of starting a clothing line together, but one by one the interest waned until only Beckerman was left taking the idea seriously. Just like he tackles RSL foes on the field, Beckerman tackled the idea of starting his own clothing line fervently. By February, he'd already designed and produced one T-shirt, but that was just the beginning.
With the help of Deb Harper and Jen Cassar the past couple months, Beckerman's grand vision for his fashionable line of T-shirts took off. Now, KB5 is officially open for business.
Beckerman held his KB5 launch party at the Sandbar in Salt Lake City on Sunday, with Real Salt Lake players and friends modeling the attire. The clothing line features five unique designs, each in a variety of colors and shapes for men and women.
"I had a lot of fun making these. We'll see, hopefully it will do well, I don't know if it will or not. If it does, we'll keep going," said Beckerman. "We tried to make some cool shirts that they can wear to the game, wear out to the club or a bar, or on a date. It's kind of versatile."
Only one of his five designs is soccer-related, which is kind of what he was hoping for.
At the moment, the T-shirts are on sale at Vendetta in University Mall and Chic Boutique in Midvale. Soon two sports stores, Team Gear International in Sandy and Scoreboard Sports in Bountiful, will carry the product.
More potential vendors were on hand to watch Sunday's fashion show, and Beckerman is hopeful they liked what they saw.
Oddly enough, Beckerman isn't an artist. He appreciates art and has an eye for it, but he wasn't blessed with that kind of talent. Someone else designed the cartoon king graphic for his first T-shirt, but it wasn't until Beckerman was put in contact with a local business that things really started to take off the past couple of months.
None of that would've possible without Harper's help.
"I loved his first shirt, but I told him I knew somebody who could do a really good job and help him out. Then it just started to roll," said Harper, who was previously over the Soccer Unites foundation to help Andy Williams' wife, but who has since started Goals for Greatness with the help of five RSL players.
Shortly after contacting the local business, Beckerman began working with the artist on staff and communicated the vision for his new T-shirts. After several mockups and alterations, the designs were complete. Most of Beckerman's final approval of samples was done in hotel rooms across the country while he spent nearly the entire month of July with the U.S. National Team.
KB5 is the second T-shirt clothing line with connections to Real Salt Lake. Brian Dunseth is a co-owner of Bumpy Pitch, a soccer-inspired line of high-end T-shirts and other merchandise. Beckerman has chatted only briefly with Dunseth about the industry but has definitely used his success as motivation.
"I think what he's doing is unreal. He's in tons of stores now, and they're really doing huge," said Beckerman. "It definitely opens your eyes when you see him doing it and being successful, it opens your eyes that maybe you can do something successful like that too."
Beckerman's commitment to KB5 enabled him to take the first step in what he hopes will be his own successful business. The fact he sold 41 T-shirts at the launch party is a promising beginning.