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Articles by Andrew Wildermuth

Beckerman kicked his way from Crofton to Salt Lake to Brazil

The world’s sport takes the world’s stage next week when World Cup play begins in Brazil.
    Played every four years, the World Cup is the most-watched and admired sporting event on the planet. This year, Anne Arundel County has a favorite son in the play. Crofton-raised Kyle Beckerman, a 31-year-old defensive midfielder for the United States Men’s National Team and captain of Real Salt Lake, prepares to lace up his cleats and play for all the world to see.
    Bay Weekly checked in with ­Beckerman last November [www.bayweekly.com/node/19763], when he had just finished solid performances for the United States in the 2013 Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualification Tournament and was captaining a great Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer team. Since then, Beckerman’s Real Salt Lake reached the MLS Championship game in December. On May 22, Beckerman was named as a starter on coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s final 23-man roster to represent the United States in the World Cup.
    Crofton is swelling with pride for the Arundel High School alum.
    “Sure, Crofton may have Edward Snowden, but now we’ve got Kyle Beckerman to even it out. It’s so inspiring that he’s from my hometown,” says 18-year-old Patrick Russo, a life-long Crofton resident.
    “He is so awesome. I just ordered my little brother a Beckerman USA jersey as a graduation gift so he’ll be ‘repping Crofton all World Cup,” says Devin Garcia, local soccer fanatic.
    Despite hometown support, Beckerman and company will have a troublesome path to success, after being placed in what fans are calling the tournament’s Group of Death along with Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Only two of the four teams will move on to the next “knockout” stage.
    Portugal, ranked fourth in the world, claims the world’s greatest player in the 29-year old phenom, ­Cristiano ­Ronaldo, recently voted this year’s FIFA Footballer of the Year.
    Second-ranked Germany, the 2010 World Cup runner up, is arguably the most well-rounded and feared team in the world.
    Ghana, while ranked just 37th in the world, could hold more bad news for the Yanks. In the previous two World Cups, the United States’ fate was dictated both times in dramatic, controversial losses to Ghana. Will history repeat itself? Or will the third time be the charm for the Red, White and Blue?
    Doubters include even the American coach. In an interview with The New York Times, Klinsmann said that the U.S. “cannot win this World Cup.”
    “He’s wrong,” contests Russo. “That’s what everyone said about the 1980 USA hockey team. Then the Miracle On Ice happened.”
    As sure as Patrick Russo is, America’s World Cup destiny won’t be known until the games begin on Thursday, June 12. Then Crofton, Anne Arundel County and all of America will watch as Kyle Beckerman and the United States National Team face off on the world’s greatest, most prestigious stage, the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

In Their Own Words
I was a big athlete. I got recruited to play lacrosse at the Naval Academy. Then I flunked out of the Academy. I lost my leg. Now I can’t even drive anymore. But you have to accept those limitations. You have to continue to pursue whatever you are supposed to be doing. It’s often confusing as to what that is. Continue to figure out why you are here, you know? Helping people is important, too; that’s where you get your real satisfaction.

Does that sound wise? It takes a long time to get to the point where the crap that comes out of your mouth is wise. Hey, you’re a lucky man. You met maybe the only wise guy on Main Street.

But really, I’ve had a wonderful life, and it’s amazing to be able to say that. I’m 67. I’m in the fourth quarter, you know? Have you ever seen The Scent of a Woman? In that, Al Pacino says, “You’re lucky if four women love you in your life.” And four women have loved me, so I guess I really am lucky. I don’t think I will get a fifth. You know how hard it is to get a girlfriend with one leg? And I don’t even know if I’d want another.

Working at Dick and Jane’s in ­Harwood

Harner: With the late winter, things have been late comin’. It’s the first time it’s ever been this late.
    Englom: The first crop of peaches was taken out by the last late frost. We’re famous for our peaches, too. But we won’t be seeing many local ones for a few weeks.
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Flying the flag in Davidsonville

Love for your country is something we all agree on.
    At these World Cup parties, when all of your friends and family look at the flag and hold their hands on their hearts, it’s a truly beautiful sight. Obviously it’s a fun and goofy time in dressing decked out in red, white and blue for parties, but there’s something more serious underneath that rings true for all Americans, reminding us that we live in such a beautiful country.
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Kings fall, peasants rise

Another wild week of World Cup action, with loads of goals, last-minute rallies and unprecedented upsets.
    Spain has been dethroned, eliminated from the tournament at the hands of high-flying Netherlands and red-hot Chile. After Monday’s meaningless win against Australia, the conquistadors walked off the pitch with their heads low and crowns removed. World Cup 2014 was an utter failure for the 2010 champions.
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Playing in Annapolis: "It's always a good time."

When I go downtown with my guitar, it’s impossible to not meet new people. I’ve met a lot of crazy characters while playing downtown — plenty of funny drunk people, but other musicians too.
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They’re playing the World Cup

The first week of the 2014 World Cup has set a wild tone for the month-long tournament: passionate play, buckets of goals and shocking upsets. Just how crazy was this week?
    For starters, the mighty have fallen. Spain has won every major tournament in the last six years, losing just one match. Last World Cup, Spain defeated Holland in the final match 1-0 in extra-time. This time around, Holland rocked the soccer world with a 5-1 victory.
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Fishing at Carr’s Wharf in Mayo

You won’t believe what is on the end of this pole! I ran out of weights, so I just tied a rock to the end of the line. It’d be nice to get a rockfish with the rock weight.
    This was my mother’s pole. I grew up going fishing with her, my dad and his friends. We’d always go fishing. She passed away three years ago from cancer. I still remember her when I use it.
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In Their Own Words

During my soccer games, my dad yells my name a lot. That makes me play harder. He likes things very neat, and naturally I’m kind of messy. So I’ve learned that being clean is really the better way. If I don’t get good grades, I usually get grounded. It’s happened before. Not good.
    I don’t like it in the moment when he’s correcting me. But looking back, it’s definitely helped me become a better man.
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In Their Own Words

Maddie Breed, 18, ­Annapolis

I’ve been singing opera since I was eight. Yeah, people look at me crazy when they hear that because I don’t really seem like I would. Like opera singers aren’t supposed to wear hats like this. I definitely don’t fit the stereotype of an opera singer, so it’s cool to be someone who does things people don’t expect.

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