Nik Besagno has plenty of reasons to move on to a life without paying soccer. The Maple Valley kid was drafted number one in Major League Soccer at the age of 16 by Real Salt Lake in 2005. The pressure of being picked number one, which coincided with woeful early years for RSL, left the local on the outs by early 2009, released and unclaimed.
Besagno returned home and spent time with the United Soccer League Sounders in 2008, but didn't make the MLS Sounders roster. He played last year with Tacoma Tide FC in the USL PDL, and this year he's getting a soccer paycheck again as midfielder and team captain of the Kitsap Pumas
In my other gig as reporter for WashingtonYouthSoccer.org, I visited Kitsap Pumas practice last week and spoke with Nik (see video on this page) about what he's been through. Imagine being labeled a 'wash out' at age 20. Then imagine moving on to college and a new life, only to discover that the game is still deep inside you. Such was the case for Besagno recently when he got a call from the Pumas' Ben Pecora to return to pro soccer. Kitsap head coach Peter Fewing's hire sealed the deal, and Nik said yes to a return. He had only been 'out' of the sport for a few months, and already he was missing it.
Cut straight forward to today. Nik Besagno is the team captain of the Kitsap Pumas. He remains in school while also playing the sport he loves. When others would have walked away, Besagno answered the call to return to soccer.
"No Quit Nik" only knows that he loves to play. He'll let others figure out whether or not this is 'progress' in his pro career. Just give him a shirt, shorts, boots and a ball. Life goes on for Besagno, and soccer goes along with it.
Nik Besagno last season with Tacoma Tide FC (left). Now he's on the Pumas side with Matt Friesen (right). (Jenni Conner)