Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
CLEVELAND — DaMarcus Beasley stands on the precipice of accomplishing a feat only 12 male athletes in United States soccer history have ever achieved. Earning his 100th cap.
On Wednesday, fewer than 200 miles from where he grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Beasley has the opportunity to take the field at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, in a friendly match against Belgium, and cement his name in the history books.
“Even after the first World Cup (in 2002), I never thought I would get to 100,” Beasley said on Monday afternoon. “It’s a great honor, a privilege, to represent your country that many times at this level.”
Beasley vividly recalled the events of that day in Oakland, California a dozen years ago, when he made his first appearance for the USMNT.
“We played China,” remembered Beasley of the 2001 friendly. “I remember I played 90 minutes, I thought I did okay. I held myself pretty well, in front of a big crowd against China, and we won the game, so that’s a plus as well.”
Beasley also brought to mind a moment after he received his first call up, receiving some words of wisdom from veteran goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who was a teammate of Beasley’s at the time with the Chicago Fire.
“I’ll never forget, when I left the Fire to go into camp with the National Team, I remember Zach Thornton, the last thing he said to me was ‘Don’t mess up,'” Beasley said. “That was the only thing he said. It was kind of funny but it always stuck in my head ever since my first game.”
Through the years, Beasley’s club career spanned from Major League Soccer to the Dutch Eredevisie, English Premier League, and Scottish Premier League. After featuring just four times for Hannover in the Bundesliga, the 30-year-old moved back across the ocean to take a chance at Liga MX side Puebla.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a little bit different to go from Germany to Mexico, where I never thought I would end up playing, just because of the rivalry,” Beasley said about moving to Puebla, where he has quickly become a fan favorite. “Playing there, living, the experience I have had so far the last two years, it’s been great, on and off the field.
“Puebla has given me a great opportunity to play and to basically bring me back to life,” Beasley said. “I owe a lot of credit to Puebla for giving me the opportunity to play.”
Digging deep into his memory bank, Beasley extracted two moments that stood out to him, both from a magical year in 2002 that included a Gold Cup title and an outstanding run in the World Cup that summer.
“The 2002 World Cup, starting my first game against Portugal, and winning, that’s definitely a highlight,” reminisced the 17-time international goal scorer. “Also scoring my first goal in the Gold Cup against Korea. Those two will stick will me forever.”
When asked if he had moments during the last few years doubting that he would eclipse the century mark in appearances, the former U.S. youth starlet said that he did at times, but always believed he could make it back into the national team squad.
“I think I had doubts that I would get to 100 (caps), but I never doubted that I would be back with the national team,” Beasley adamantly said. “I’ve always had confidence in my ability. Even when I wasn’t playing in Germany, I still had confidence that, give me one situation, get me back to playing regularly, 90 minutes game in and game out, and I’ll get my chance.
“Luckily I’ve gotten a couple of more games than I hoped for.”
With 16 of his friends and family planning to attend on Wednesday, Beasley knows that it will be a special moment not just for him, but also for everyone who has helped him at each step of his 13 year career as a professional.
“I’m honored to play for this team, for this country, to go out and wear this crest across my chest every time we go out and hear the national anthem,” Beasley said. “Hopefully, it’s not over yet.”
Sometimes it seemed DMB reaching 100 caps was a foregone conclusion while other times it seemed his international career was a thing of the past. DMB’s persistence and flexibility in playing multiple positions should be applauded/
I’ve been an admitted DMB fan on this site. Really happy for him and that he’s worked his way back onto the team. Would love to see some pace on the wings and hope he gets his chance to play farther up the field. He’s such a good two way player. Excited for him. Like others, I remember the fearlessness that he and Landon brought to the flanks, taking on defenders. What they did to Portugal…. GO USA!
The box score for the game says there was only 9k people there. Maybe that was a big crowd back in the day 🙂 http://www.ussoccer.com/news/articles/2001/01/u-s-mens-national-team-opens-2001-with-decisive-2-1-victory-over-china-in-oakland.aspx
I think if you go far enough back into the 90s c. 1994 it becomes more like women’s soccer these days where they barnstorm all over and some days the attendance isn’t too hot. And I think US soccer goes through cycles where it is more or less interested in playing off the beaten path at home. But Gulati has trended towards playing in SSSs and football stadia that are less risky.
There is an interesting site called American Soccer History Archives that has been around forever and gives historical opponent, result, attendance, and site information for decades of US games. I’ve found it useful as an added source of attendance information when someone wants to get a MLS team…..”ok, when the USMNT came through a few years back, only 5k showed up, that doesn’t sound like the city is soccer-excited, how do you plan on supporting any old team any better.”
All the people talking about Beasley as a hardluck story seem to have forgotten 2006 Germany where he was one of the best players (he set up Dempsey on the goal against Ghana) on a team that was unfortunately too old, overly conservative in tactics, and yet swiss cheese on defense.
He did have a lousy Costa Rica game but something was off between him and Bradley, who rarely used him before or after that game.
I don’t think he was a hardluck story. He lost his spot on the usmnt deservedly during a corner kick against Brazil. His recent form, though, has won many fans back over.
I was living in Chicago when the Fire started. Saw a lot of Beaz on the field. I think he’s kind of become the consumate pro. I remember wondering about his maturity–a stupid thing to do on my part, as he was awfully young! Now, he seems to have come into his own. I guess a career such as his can only serve as an education. Holland, England, Germany, Mexico… Always one of my favorite players.
(P.S. I think we’ll see more yanks in MFL and I think that’s a good thing)
Legend. I remember hanging around the stadiums at the 2002 World Cup before the games and seeing all the player’s family’s walking around in their son’s jersey’s. My friends and I would stop each of them and get a photo with them. Hey, if you can’t meet the player, nothing wrong with hanging with the fam. Beasley’s family was super nice. His brother Jamar (I think) was cool and all of them were just so full of pride and rightfully so. They were all so gracious and nice…great memories. Loved what Beasley and Donovan brought to that team – imho it was a fearlessness and an attitude that we should be winning each and every game.
DMB…stud. So many were disappointed in him when he didn’t score more. We were actually a less sophisticated soccer audience as a nation back in 2002 and many saw a fast, talented guy and thought he was a goal-scorer. Instead, he became maybe the best two way player (with a clear shout for LD) we have had in the last decade.
It has been a pleasure to watch him.
I always thought that throughout his career Beasley caught some really tough breaks and not always given the opportunities I thought he earned. However, despite that he’s still about to achieve his 100th cap just goes to show what a true professional he is to be able to hang around throughout all these years. Beasley will always be one of my favorite American soccer players, happy he’s about to earn this honor.
I can remember Beasly and Donovan back in 2002! Well worked DeMarcus! I hope the mole keeps you running a few more years to come.
As far as I’m concerned, he has nothing left to prove. He’s played well everywhere he’s played — PSV, Manchester City, Rangers. If not for terrible luck with injuries, he’d probably still be playing in Europe. He’s more than deserving of 100 caps. I hope he scores.
Beasley has brought so many great moments to this team that newcomers might not appreciate. I remember so many key moments he has brought to the pitch for the red, white,and blue. Give him100 caps. He’s earned it, and we all owe it to him.
I was at the china game in 2001 and was waiting for run DMB to make his debut. Having come up through the youth ranks together, he and Donovan linked up several times. They knew where the other was going to be – automatic. It was special. To bad donovan won’t be in Cleveland to share and support his longtime teammate in the achievement.
!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEASLEY IS A WINGER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beasley needs to play Left wing against Belgium…nuff said.
It’d be a shame if his 100th cap is playing LB.
He’s regained his form, confidence and our side is in desperate need of some life and pace on the wing. I’d much rather have a slower defender playing out of their natural position (i.e. Cameron, Besler or Parkhurst) if that means we can put him up top/on the wing.
He’s a winger. End of story.
+ 1 Agree Old School on this one. Damarcus Beasley is a club winger and that should be his position on the USMNT. A friendly is a perfect opportunity to give Beez a chance to show what he can do as winger. Likewise, an opportunity to test Eric Lichaj at fullback. Tired of hearing people say Lichaj is not good enough. How do we know? We have not yet seen him in the Klinsmann era. Yes, it is true Lichaj was not a regular starter for Aston Villa, but a lot of guys coming to this camp (or at last invited to this camp) who for months have been benchwarmers and/or not even dressing on game days.
Cannot understand what Klinsmann is up to and will be unhappy if DMB is forced again to play out-of-position at left back in what is not an emergency situation. Would be a sad situation if DMB would end up injured playing LB for Klinsmann the Tinkerer, same as what happened to Torres when he played LB for no logical reason, only because Klinsmann did not want to call in a player or two who play fullback at their clubs.
I like Beasley as a winger too, and wish we’d put more energy into developing the speedy wingers we have in the pool, whom I think can separate us from the pack.
But the idea of using a slower back against the upcoming athletic teams, that I cannot support. “Kick me” sign.
I simply do not favor: a winger playing defense + a striker playing winger (i.e. Eddie Johnson), who haven’t produced anything of note.
I have to agree with everyones’ points here. Beasley is a serviceable LB, but not the future at this position. He deserves a chance to play winger, and I couldn’t think of a better time than: it’s a friendly, his age, our urgent need for a winger, and his strong form as of late.
I agree, DMB is a winger first and a fullback second, but it is actually pretty meaningful in my eyes that his 100th cap may come as a fullback. This is a guy willing to play out of position in unbelievably tough circumstances (like the SnowClasico, or at the Azteca). He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. And his 100th cap–an individual achievement–will likely come in the service to that collective goal of World Cup qualification.
That DMB would have his 100th cap be as a defender is a testament to his selflessness and class, and I couldn’t be happier for him.
I agree 100%. We need Beasley in the attacking half, not stuck defending.
Left backs are often offensive catalysts.
For example Ashley Cole was a vital part of the Chelsea offense as is Leighton Baines at Everton.
When he is at left back DMB’s offensive role is all in how they decide to set up their overlapping responsibilities. Who is his left winger? That will tell you how much he is likely to join the attack. How well they mesh is vital.
I prefer DMB at left back. He had some anxious moments there against CR and Mexico but no harm, no foul and, now that he is more practiced, he should be better this go around.
He is more focused at left back than he sometimes is when he plays in midfield. Fill in left back seems to me to be his best role this cycle with the USMNT even if he plays there against Belgium and gets lit up
That’s because if the Belgians actually show up and actually want to play hard, they just might rip the US apart regardless of who the US sends out there.