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Exclusive Interview with AC St. Louis’ Chad Becker: From High School ‘Maybe’ to the Pros

Chad Becker, 23, is a 6’2″ goalkeeper from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO who signed with AC St. Louis about a month ago.  Chad, a local guy who attended Francis Howell North High School, was named to the NSCAA Division II All-American team in 2008.  Chad was kind enough to take a short time out from preseason practice and getting settled in a new apartment to talk about his career.                                  

Chad Becker

As many of you know, Rockhurst University has traditionally been a soccer power in Division II and has always recruited players from the St. Louis area.  I asked Chad about memorable moments at Rockhurst. 

“During my senior year, we were 16-1-4, our only loss coming to the University of Missouri-Kansas City,” he said. “During the semifinal of our (Great Lakes Valley) conference tournament, we played Drury University.  The game was scoreless after two overtimes and went to a shootout.  I was able to stop three shots in a row for the win.” 

“Chad is one of the most athletic goalies that I’ve ever coached,” said  Rockhurst coach Tony Tocco, whose 566 career victories ranks first among active intercollegiate coaches and third on the all-time coaching list. “He has made himself into one of the top goalkeepers in the country.” 

Chad wasn’t always a goalkeeper.  As a junior at Francis Howell North, he was trying to make the varsity as a defender, after making the team the year before but not playing much.  Chad hoped to make the squad, but saw himself as a “third-stringer at best.”  The school, however, was thin at the goalkeeper position, and Chad grabbed the opportunity, as Francis Howell North assistant coach Les Hager explained. 

“He wanted to do it,” Hager said. “I give him most of the credit, because he took it and ran with it. He wanted to play, and he had that desire. He saw an opportunity and picked it up and enjoyed it and went with it. He’s a rare commodity. He’s one of those kids who took his training and not only worked on the physical aspects of the game, but the mental aspects, picked that up as well. He did what he needed to do and obviously got better and better every year.” 

Good enough to help Francis Howell North to the final four of the state playoffs.  Good enough to start every game at Rockhurst his last three seasons.  Good enough to make three big stops in a conference semifinal shootout at Rockhurst and win All-American honors.  And now good enough for a professional contract. 

Chad gained experience with the Kansas City Wizards on a trial basis last year behind goalkeepers Kevin Hartman, Eric Kronberg and Boris Pardo.  Since signing with AC St. Louis, he has split time between the posts with Alec Dufty in preseason wins over UMKC, McKendree University and last Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Wizards.  I asked Chad what its like to play in his hometown, and on the difference between the college and pro games. 

“It’s great, and I’m excited to play before friends and family.,” Chad stated.  On being a professional, Chad said that “the work ethic is greater than in college, and you have to take it more seriously.” 

Chad and his ACSTL teammates play against the Wizards again at AB Soccer Park on Saturday April 3rd.  Call 1-888-STL-GOAL for ticket information. 

Some material in this post was taken from a January 29, 2009 article in the St. Louis Metro Area Suburban Journal. 

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