May 2014, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker (8) carries the ball past Vancouver Whitecaps forward/midfielder Nicolas Mezquida (29) in the Canadian Championship semi final game at BMO Field. Toronto defeated Vancouver 2-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sport
When you observe how Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker conducts himself in the locker room, it’s sometimes hard to believe he’s only 24. Whether it’s talking to the media or his demeanor in general, Bekker is the consummate professional.
I’m even more intrigued by how he appears to not have a worry in the world. This is an impressive trait, especially when you consider Bekker was a 2013 third overall draft pick, selected to play in his hometown city of all places.
I sat down with the Oakville, Ontario native to discuss, among other things, how he has progressed as a player, what inspired him to pursue a soccer career and what three things he’d need if he was stranded on a desert island.
Tip Of The Tower: Kyle, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. I just wanted to start off by asking how you would assess your development in your second year playing for Toronto FC?
Kyle Bekker: I think in the games I’ve played (14, including 9 starts) I’ve done well. Obviously there’s a few things I would have liked to have gone my way a little better, but that’s part of the game.
You just have to roll with it and see how it goes. For example, the other week in Chicago, things could have been a little better definitely, but overall I think I’ve improved.
TOTT: Looking back to when the 2013 MLS SuperDraft was about to take place, did you have any thoughts or aspirations about ending up with Toronto, or were you more concerned about just actually being selected!
Bekker: Definitely. The thing I was worried about was getting picked, signing a contract and starting my professional career. In the back of my mind there was always the thought that I’d like to play in Toronto.
For me though, it was just about making it into MLS. If it was Toronto, even better, especially for my friends and family.
TOTT: It’s interesting you mention your family and friends. Is there any pressure involved with performing in front of people you know, as opposed to, for example, playing at Boston College?
Bekker: I think it’s more about the fact they’re supporting me rather than my feeling any pressure. Obviously these are people who look out for you, so you want to do well for them, and repay them for all the years they’ve stood by me and helped me along.
It’s definitely nice to be the hometown boy, but it does come with a certain amount of pressure. I just don’t see if as a bad thing, I turn it into a positive, knowing they’re all there to support me.
Feb 11, 2014; Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker poses for a portrait photo. Mandatory Credit: Paul Giamou-USA TODAY Sports
TOTT: Given that you were born in Canada, you’ve obviously grown up with hockey. What made you decide soccer was the direction you wanted to take?
Bekker: It was my dad and my older brother who had a big influence on me. Pretty much from the second I could walk, I was playing soccer. Hockey was never really anything that I considered seriously, despite playing it with my friends.
TOTT: Along those lines, is your dad originally from Canada or was he born somewhere else?
Bekker: He’s Canadian, but for whatever reason, he preferred soccer to hockey. I think it all worked out pretty well in the end. (Laughs.)
TOTT: When you’re not playing, what do you do to relax or just get away from the game?
Bekker: I usually just like to spend time with friends. Being from here, I have a lot of guys who I grew up with, so they help me to step away from the game if I need to, treating me just like everyone else! That definitely helps a lot.
TOTT: Okay, I’m going to throw some quickfire questions at you. Just say the first thing that comes to mind.
TOTT: Favourite book that you’ve read?
Bekker: The Wolf of Wall Street. I read it before it was made into a film.
TOTT: You’re favourite type of food?
TOTT: Favourite music?
Bekker: I’ll be honest, I’m all over the map. I like a little bit of everything, but it depends what mood I’m in.
TOTT: You’re stranded on a desert island. What three things do you have to have with you?
Bekker: Some music, a soccer ball and a friend to hang out with. I’ll figure everything else out!
TOTT: Ideal woman, and you can say you’re girlfriend if you have one and don’t want to get into trouble.
Bekker: (Laughs) Hmm, who do we have?
(At this point, Nick Hagglund chimed in and said he likes Nina Dobrev. Hagglund went on to advise Bekker likes his woman “a little crazy”, so suggested Megan Fox.
Bekker: I don’t know man…… (thinking)…… actually, I’ll say Jennifer Lawrence.
TOTT: Good choice. By both of you! Okay, just finally, if you weren’t playing soccer, what do you think you’d be doing?
Bekker: Even if I wasn’t playing, I’d still want to be involved in the game somehow. Maybe I’d do some coaching or something along those lines, but I’d have to be involved somehow.
TOTT: Kyle, thank you again for you’re time, it’s much appreciated. Good luck with the rest of the season.
Bekker: My pleasure, and thanks.