Commentary

Drew Beckie, a Canadian citizen, is making a difference in U.S. soccer. He recently accepted an offer from Denver University.

Updated: January 26, 2009, 2:28 PM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

Soccer players are used to yellow and red cards.

For Drew Beckie, the key to a soccer scholarship came in the form of a green card.

The Highlands Ranch, Colo., resident is a Canadian citizen who has verbally committed to Denver University.

"I've been here 11 years on a green card," Beckie said. "I thought about [getting U.S. citizenship], but there seems no need for me to do it. ... A green card is good for 10 years and I just renewed it last year."

Beckie is part of a strong Class of 2009 DU recruiting class that includes Beckie's club teammate, Alex Tarnoczi, who led his Colorado high school team, Rock Canyon, into the FAB 50 fall boys' soccer rankings, and Tulsa's Josh Wren.

"My main goal was to play soccer in college in the U.S.," Beckie said. "I had other choices, but I like [Denver coach] Bobby [Muuss] and the staff, and I really want to be a part of something big. I think they are going in the right direction."

After starting 0-3, Denver rallied for a 10-7-2 season in 2008, a season which also included a Mountain Pacific Sport Federation title and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

At Arapahoe (Littleton, Colo.) this past fall, Beckie, who had a stint with the Canadian under-17 national team, earned first-team All-State honors. He plays for the Real Colorado U18 Academy team.

He projects as a defender or defensive midfielder at DU. Real Colorado club coach Kevin Fickes said Beckie, who played basketball until being convinced that his future lies in soccer, is an exceptional athlete who strikes the ball well.

Beckie recorded 12 caps with the Canadian youth national team. Although he had not lived in Canada for a decade, his residency made him eligible and a local coach in Denver knew the Canadian under-17 coach at the time, and helped make the connection, Beckie said.

"I went to the Copa Chivas tournament in January of 2007 with Canada," he said. "I went to three camps and made the qualifying team."

"The fact that he played in matches -- played full matches -- helped his game," Fickes said. "He came back (from the Canadian experience) a lot more confident."

The current Canadian under-20 roster pool is in residency with the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Beckie thinks his Canadian international career is finished -- at least for now.

Beckie came to the U.S. from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, when his father took a job transfer that landed the family in the Denver area.

Quick Kicks:

Favorite Soccer Moment: "Playing Mexico in Mexico City with 10,000 fans. It was a great atmosphere. Even though we lost, it was exciting to be part of something like that."

Beckie was playing for the Canadian under-17 team when the squad played a friendly in Mexico City. Canada took a 1-0 lead before falling 2-1.

Favorite Goal: "Last year at the Development Academy Summer Showcase [in Greensboro, N.C.] against CASL, I scored the first goal. It was a free kick at the left side of the 18. I bent it in."

Sheldon Shealer covers youth soccer for ESPNRISE.com