Joe Ruffolo, soccer coach at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, describes Michael Beckett as “a physical force to be reckoned with on the (soccer) field.”
Ryan Beckett, his dad, uses “loyal” to describe his son.
The Eaglets senior’s season ended, 2-1, Tuesday at Linden in the district playoffs, but his contributions to the St. Mary’s program are etched in stone.
Shunning academy play for the chance to compete with his high school friends, Beckett helped the Eaglets to back-to-back Catholic League titles for the first time. He was first-team all-state as a junior and a member of the Dream Team. He’s a top candidate for the state’s Mr. Soccer, which will be announced after the state tournament ends next month.
At 6-feet-3 and 195-pounds, Beckett is an imposing figure attacking defenses. He finished the season with 32 goals and nine assists. For his career, he had 72 goals and 30 assists over four years while posting a 3.57 grade-point average.
Michigan State, where grandfather Roderick Beckett attended, is getting a player who should thrive in college and beyond.
“I love Michigan State, and a lot of that came from my grandfather,” he said. “I was looking at other schools, but as soon as Michigan State came in the picture, that was it.”
The physical attributes stand out, but his loyalty is what makes his dad proud.
“One thing you could say about Michael is he is very committed,” Ryan said. “He had the opportunity to play academy and he stayed committed to his high school. He’s a captain there and a captain at (club team) Michigan Impact. If you play academy, you can’t play high school. He didn’t want to do that. He didn’t want to leave his team. He didn’t want to leave his club team. I give him credit because it was a difficult choice.”
While the decision was difficult, Beckett’s inner desires won out.
“I chose high school over academy because I played with my travel team, Michigan Impact, my whole life, and I love that team and I wanted to finish it out with all my friends on the team,” he said. “Then, I wanted to play for my high school. I loved playing for my high school. I wanted to finish my career with all my friends. As I look back on it, I didn’t want to say I wished I hadn’t played academy because I wanted to play with my friends.”
Beckett also had to shun athletic director, football coach and basketball coach George Porritt. At 6-3 and running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, Beckett would have been a natural at wide receiver, and there was the temptation to play guard in basketball.
But soccer won out.
His first coach was Pauline Beckett, his mother.
“She got me started in AYSO soccer, and then it went to travel team,” Michael said. “We live in Holly, so that’s where I started. She got me involved when I was 5 or 6 years old. I just fell in love with soccer after that.”