Real Salt Lake Trio Honored As Top 25 Greatest Players In MLS History

Dec 9, 2020, 12:06 PM
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) is handed a trophy by teammate Real Salt Lake midfielde...
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) is handed a trophy by teammate Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman (5) for his 200th win as Real Salt Lake defeats DC United 3-2 in MLS Soccer action at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Utah on Saturday, May 12, 2018. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Over 200 experts collaborated and came up with a list of 25 Major League Players who have “achieved the most on the field, advanced the league off the field and helped lay the foundation and set the course for MLS’s next 25 years.”

The league is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary in the year 2020.

Three former and current Real Salt Lake players made the list. The list itself is not ranked, it is in alphabetical order because “they are all equally worthy of this prestigious honor.”

Nick Rimando

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando played in MLS for 20 years, 12 of those with RSL. Despite being just 5 feet 9 inches tall, Rimando was dubbed the “Wall Of The Wasatch” by his beloved RSL fans. He was a shot-stopping sensation who constantly denied opposing shots from finding the back of the net.

During his career, Rimando set the record for most shutouts in league history with 154, most saves with 1701, and most appearances with 514. He won the MLS Cup on two occasions.

No goalkeeper in league history has saved more penalty kicks than Rimando.

He was beloved throughout the league and found great success donning the RSL’s claret and cobalt.

Eddie Pope

Eddie Pope is best remembered for his time spent at D.C. United, however, Pope ended his career at RSL, appearing in 69 games between 2005-07.

The bruising center back was the 1997 MLS Defender of the Year, he made four appearances on the MLS Best XI and he won three MLS Cups.

Furthermore, Pope also represented the United States at three World Cups anchoring the backline. On top of his 254 games played at MLS, he also managed 82 games at the International level.

One of the most iconic moments in league history came when Pope scored an extra-time goal in a dramatic 3-2 victory against the LA Galaxy to claim the inaugural MLS Cup in 1996.

He was rewarded for his remarkable career by being inducted into the National Soccer Hall Of Fame.

Kyle Beckerman

Beckerman’s MLS career is still ongoing. He plays a role for RSL despite debuting for the Miami Fusion in 2000. Following a 2020 season that saw RSL miss the playoffs, Beckerman completed his 20th professional season in North America. It is remarkable.

During that time, he has mustered 498 appearances, 350 of those coming for RSL. He is the only player to ever complete 20 seasons in MLS and holds the record for most games played by a field player. It is no surprise that he has been a nine-time All-Star.

Beckerman’s club career is intertwined with a successful national team stint that has seen him play in 58 games for the red, white, and blue. He was a key member of the 2014 World Cup squad that saw the U.S. advance from the group of death after Beckerman started all three group stage games before being eliminated by Belgium in the Round of 16, Beckerman did not see the field against Belgium and the U.S. subsequently conceded 18 shots on target.

Currently, Beckerman is without a contract as both RSL and his management decipher a deal to keep him involved in 2021. It remains unknown if Beckerman will return for his 21st professional season, but RSL General Manager Elliot Fall has made it clear that Beckerman will have a role within the organization at some level in 2021.

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Real Salt Lake Trio Honored As Top 25 Greatest Players In MLS History