The MLS Draft may no longer be a place where teams find lock-down starters every year, but it remains a place where teams can find solid domestic defenders.
San Jose Earthquakes defender Tanner Beason was drafted ahead of the 2020 season out of Stanford and amid the disruptive season that came during the pandemic, he didn’t get a ton of attention, but played his way into Matias Almeyda’s rotation in his rookie season.
In talking to reporters on Wednesday, Beason admitted now in his second season, he feels more comfortable with the speed of play and life as a professional.
“I feel more and more comfortable each time out there, obviously last year, my first few appearances and stuff there you feel nervy,” Beason said. “It’s a different level, so you’re kind of adjusting to those kinds of differences, of those kinds of elevated things in terms of the speed of the game and the players and all the people around you and it’s a new system. And so I feel that I have enough minutes under my belt to where I’m still learning, I’m still improving each time. But I do feel comfortable, growing in confidence and comfort in the people around me, I’ve been able to play more minutes with everyone around me, and that kind of stuff helps.”
Beason has made six appearances this season, five of those starts, and the North Carolina native doesn’t seem to just be a fill-in for the more experienced Florian Jungwirth and Oswaldo Alanís — he seems to be fully in Almeyda’s central defensive rotation.
But with the club recently signing another center back, in Nathan, competition will ramp up in the back. At 24, Beason is prepared to soak up what he can from his experienced teammates.
“I definitely enjoyed playing alongside of Oswaldo and Florian at different times, and other guys as well of course, I’m coming into a place where there’s a lot of people with great experience so for me, just as I’m trying to take advantage of each day and each game, trying to get better and improve, I’m absolutely making use of the amazing resources that I have with, with regard to my teammates. Guys like Oswaldo and Flo have tremendous experiences in their career in all kinds of different places so yeah always trying to talk to those guys and and see what little, little things I can take away from their experiences and and their games,” Beason said.
Beason called Nathan “charismatic” and praised the Brazilian since his arrival.
“He played with great intensity and passion the other day. That was awesome to see. It’s always fun to play with people that play like that. And yeah, looking forward to continuing to play alongside him and like I’ve said before, build a connection and relationship there because I think the more minutes you play with someone, the better kind of understanding you have with that person on the field. And then that just translates to the kind of chemistry and better understanding, in the most important moments defensively.”
While Beason is still just getting started in his career, his quiet but steady play looks like it will offer him more opportunities in the months and perhaps years ahead.
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