Gavin is still very young with loads of potential. He is currently only 17 years old and won’t turn 18 until after the 2023 MLS season starts. The position of goalkeeper is one that typically sees players peak a little later in age and play later into their 30’s than the field positions. When we talk about impact Gavin has had no impact at the senior level as he has yet to see minutes with the first team. But let’s not solely look at first team stats as our sole measure of contribution. Especially given the iron man season that Zac MacMath put in, playing all 3060 minutes that were available at the GK position in 2022.
While Gavin Beavers didn’t see any first team minutes behind MacMath, he was given plenty of opportunities to contribute at the MLS Next Pro level. There were 24 matches played by Real Monarchs in the 2022 MLS Next Pro season and no goalkeeper saw more matches played and started than Gavin Beavers. Of 2160 minutes available in the season, Gavin consumed 1350 minutes (62.5%) of those minutes, the next closest keeper only saw 360 minutes. Beavers was the clear first choice of head coach Jamison Olave. Let’s take a look at how Gavin performed with those minutes.
2022 statistical recap Like I mentioned in the last section, Gavin saw the majority of minutes for Real Monarchs. He played and started in 15 matches, making 40 saves (2.6 per game) during that time for a save percentage of 57.1%. For comparison, Zac MacMatch for Real Salt Lake made 102 saves (3 per game) with an SV% of 69.4%. So while Beavers doesn’t look quite ready to take over the starting spot of the first team, he is not far off at only 17 years old.
The Monarchs struggled defensively in 2022, so it’s hard to blame solely Gavin Beavers for the amount of goals conceded, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t also include that he conceded 30 goals in his 15 games, or 2 per game. This was identical with David Ochoa’s and Fernando Delgado’s goals against average for the Monarchs, and better than Blake Kelly’s 3.5 GAA in 2 matches. Only Tomas Gomez had a better GAA in 2022 for the Monarchs, starting 4 matches and finishing with a 1.75 GAA.
The last two stats I’ll point out that I think Beavers will need to focus on in 2023 is his passing accuracy and his long ball completion percentage. He finished last among the four keepers to play for Monarchs in 2022, with a paltry 67.5% passing accuracy as well as last in long ball completion percentage with an abysmal 29.5%. Those are two things he will have to shore up if he plans to push MacMath for first team minutes in the coming year.
What’s next for Gavin Beavers?
Gavin is a young, inexpensive homegrown, that occupies a supplemental roster slot. In other words, I don’t expect him to be leaving the RSL family any time soon...unless he happens to catch Crystal Palace’s eye. During the offseason it has been announced that he will be traveling with fellow goalkeeper Fernando Delgado and Real Monarchs Goalkeeper Coach Mirza Harambasic to Crystal Palace in England to continue his development ahead of the 2023 season. I think this is a fantastic opportunity for both he and Delgado to get overseas experience, a fresh perspective on what it means to be a professional and hopefully come back even further polished and ready to make the leap to the first team.
It is unlikely that Zac MacMath can completely avoid injuries for the remainder of his professional career, and with David Ochoa out of the picture, there is an opportunity for Gavin to push for first team minutes, whether that be in MLS matches, or more likely in U.S. Open Cup play. Either way, Gavin appears to be the next man up behind MacMath and if he puts in the work this offseason I am very optimistic that we could see him make his first team debut in 2023, even if it is in a limited capacity.
Why Gavin Beavers should make his first-team debut in 2023
I’ve outlined the path forward. If Gavin can improve his shot stopping, passing accuracy and long ball distribution during the offseason, I don’t see any reason why he can’t pick up a match or two in 2023 in either Open Cup play or as a relief to Zac MacMath if an injury occurs. I don’t want to rush him into it and put too much pressure on him like we saw with the meteoric rise and subsequent downfall of David Ochoa. The recipe for success here is to give Beavers the time and space to grow and mature while also exposing him to first team minutes in calculated situations.