Kyle Beckerman knows he and his Real Salt Lake teammates have come to Central Florida on a business trip. But in some ways, the longtime veteran midfielder is looking at the MLS is Back Tournament the way so many others visitors to Disney resorts have over the years: As a chance to make memories.
"(It) will be definitely something we remember being a part of, especially if we win it," The 38-year-old said Monday during a conference call. "So I think there’s a lot yet to be known. It could be a breakthrough in a lot of camera stuff and how soccer is viewed in the country. Also, it could pick up some momentum with some non-soccer fans who now will watch a little bit more because that’s one of the only sports on. I think it’s up in the air what could happen with this tournament."
As Beckerman told MLSsoccer.com's own Charlie Boehm recently, he has no intention of calling his 21st MLS season his last. Even so, he also knows how precious opportunities to lift silverware can be.
While Beckerman was part of the US men's national team that lifted the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup, Salt Lake's Cinderella run to the 2009 MLS Cup remains his only major trophy at the club level.
"It’s probably the quickest time ever in the history of the league, where you can win a trophy in about a month or so, a month and a half. I think that's kind of the excitement." Beckerman said of the tournament, which RSL begins against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday (10:30 pm ET | ESPN, TSN). "So you’ve got a trophy there, a slot for the Champions League. There’s quite a bit on the line."
Although the World Cup, neutral site format has been borne out of necessity, Beckerman could see a future where MLS decides to revisit the concept in non-pandemic times.
"We understand that it’s going to be on TV every day," Beckerman said. "You’ve got the groups and you’ve got the knockout stage. We understand how it’s going to be on TV every day for about two weeks, and then we’ll get to the knockout stage and just what that excitement brings to the fans and also as players, it’s really fun to play in that style."
He later added: "If this turns out to be a huge success, who knows? Maybe it won’t be the last time."