Kyle Bekker, Toronto FC’s third overall SuperDraft choice is flying the colors.
The 22-year-old midfielder is training with the Canadian men’s team in Arizona.
It has been an astonishing few weeks. Bekker was named the most valuable player of the MLS Players Combine. TFC surprised many by grabbing the Oakville, Ont. product third overall and the invitation to train with the national team came after periods in which Bekker struggled for recognition.
RELATED: Nelsen to make permanent move | SuperDraft recap | Bekker on Canada
Video: Kyle Bekker following his selection at the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
“This is my first call-up to the full team,” Bekker said. “I’m proud to be a part of this group. Hopefully we can be called back into a few more camps and turn this around.”
Canada fell short of advancing to the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. TFC finished last in MLS. Bekker figures to be immersed in two significant rebuilds.
“With this program and with TFC it’s going to be a long road ahead but it’s exciting,” he said. “You can be part of something from the ground up.”
On a European tour with his Oakville Sigma team, Bekker, then 16, was spotted and asked to play at the Ajax academy. He spent six months in Holland but a problem with his passport meant he had to return home.
The misadventure devastated him.
“I was caught up in it. I was leaving high school, leaving my friends from school and then you come back and it’s like maybe you’re really not that special.”
Friends and family talked Bekker out of quitting the sport. Instead he spent four years at Boston College where he started 79 out of 80 games and scored 17 goals.
“You have to go back and look at yourself. I realized I had a whole bunch of things I had to learn and I needed to grow as a soccer player and as a person,” he said. “That experience taught me a lot."
Bekker has no regrets.
“It was something I don’t want to change at all. It would have been nice to been there but what happened sort of made me who I am.”