Star midfielder Kyle Beckerman retiring after 21 MLS seasons

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SANDY, Utah (AP) — Nine-time All-Star midfielder Kyle Beckerman retired Monday after 21 seasons in MLS, the last 14 with Real Salt Lake.

“There are so many people to thank over 21 years,” Beckerman said. “I appreciate all of the teammates I’ve battled with on the field and the coaches who put their trust in me.”

Regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in MLS history, the 38-year-old Beckerman retires as the league’s all-time leader in regular-eason matches played (498), matches started (461) and minutes played (41,161). Beckerman started his career with the Miami Fusion in 2000, before moving on to Colorado in 2003. He was traded to Real Salt Lake in 2007.

Beckerman was named captain of RSL in 2008 and a year later helped lead the club to its only MLS Cup title. RSL also reached the CONCACAF Champions League final in 2011, U.S. Open Cup final in 2013 and the MLS Cup final in 2013.

“There aren’t words to describe the impact Kyle has had on our club, MLS, and this community,” RSL general manager Elliot Fall said. “When you think of Real Salt Lake, you think of Kyle Beckerman. He is a legend. There will never be another like him.”

Beckerman also made 58 appearance for the United States, including starting all three group stage matches during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He made multiple appearances for the U.S in the Gold Cup and Copa America.

“I’ve been fortunate to play with and against some of the best players in the game,” Beckerman said. “I’ve seen the world through this sport and lived my dream of playing on the world’s biggest stage. I’ve been part of the MLS has made over 25 years and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring.”