NEW YORK – “Everything happens for a reason,” they say. But it could be God or nature – or just a coincidence. Kate Pappas can’t put her finger on what happened when she met her future husband, MSL soccer star Kyle Beckerman, but she – and he – could already hear the wedding bells.
Few things in their lives hinted at their being a match. Kate was born and raised in Salt Lake City by 2nd generation Greek-Americans and Kyle’s parents are from Pennsylvania with a predominantly German background. His father did not practice his family’s Judaism, and they were both teachers who found jobs in Maryland, where Kyle grew up.
Kates’ mother’s roots are in Chania, and her father’s family hails from near Olympia. But on their first dates, they didn’t have much to say about the Mecca of athleticism – Kyle has yet to visit. Kate wasn’t even the daughter who played soccer. “I knew nothing about soccer. My sister Elaina played and I attended her games. Now I’m a huge fan.”
It was their professions that brought them together. Kate told TNH that she just quit her job in advertising to devote herself full time to a graduate degree in communication but in October 2009 she was assigned to shoot a commercial for a local charity. “I was the one holding the cue cards.”
The kismet began to bubble before they met.
“When I saw the shoot on my calendar, I looked up the two guys we were shooting, Kyle, and Nick Rimando,” from the team Real Salt Lake.
“I remember taking a good look at Kyle’s picture.” She said she didn’t know how to describe it, but “Before we even met I had a good feeling about him.” She even teased her friends and parents, saying “I think I’m going to meet my future husband tomorrow…”
She also heard good things about him through colleagues.
The vibes were good all around. Kate’s crew could hear the radio communications between Kyle and his teammate. “Kyle said to Nick something along the lines of ‘this is my wife,’” she said.
“It was a powerful intuition. I never had it before but I had it then,” she said, but when they actually spoke, it wasn’t much of a discussion. “He said nice to meet you. Good bye.”
When he came back her number, Kate was gone, but he asked a cameraman to get permission from Kate to give him her number. “He was very gentlemanly…of course I said yes and that night we talked on the phone for the first time and the rest is history.”
Their first visit to the obligatory Greek restaurant was to Aristos, which was already one of Kyle’s favorites.
Kyle loves lamb shanks, and Kate’s mother’s homemade paximadia, and is looking forward to seeing Greece. “We are long overdue and we are talking about going but his off season is the winter months.” World Cup preparations, which began after they were married in January – they dated four years – forced them to also postpone their honeymoon.
They had an amazing experience in Brazil, however. “I think we are still coming down from it,” she said, adding it was great to see the country “but it was also fanstastic to see how Kyle accomplished his goals. He always wanted to play for the U.S. national team.”
The highlight came during the first game. “When they lined up for the national anthem the flag was right where the families were sitting. He saw me there…I was sobbing…it was an incredible moment.”
She was thrilled that the team played well and was happy to see Kyle finally get the attention he deserved.
When the limelight glares, they flee to the mountains. Prior to advertising work Kate was a writer for the City Weekly newspaper, which is owned by a Greek-American, John Faltas. Reading and writing are still a passion a hobby, but she also loves fishing, as does Kyle.
Asked if she were a mountain girl, she laughed and said “we grew up camping, so I was more of an outdoor person than Kyle was.” But he caught up, as she did on sports.
CAN’T GET MORE CLOSE KNIT THAN THIS
Kate is the oldest of four, but the family doesn’t end there. “I have 17 first cousins – we might as well be brothers and sisters, we are that close…some of them are my best friends.”
Her brother Andrew is in school and helps her dad run the family business, called Roofers Supply. Steve, the youngest, just began studying genetics at the University of Utah, and Elaina works in the marketing department of Kyle’s team.
Kyle’s Childhood with his older brother Todd had an athletic accent. They played all sports, but predominantly soccer and wrestling.
In grad school Kate will delve deeper into what experience taught her about how social media are transforming communication. “It’s changing everything, the way the world works. Whether you like it or not you can’t get away from it,” she said.
There is a personal dimension too. Because of the excitement over the U.S. national team’s World Cup journey, “This year Kyle has been all over social media.”