Every week at The Center Circle, we are highlighting a different player in a feature we call “On the Spot”. We’ll take a look at superstars, underrated gems, aging veterans, and young unknowns who should be known. We’ll peruse their club and international careers, taking note of their teams, statistics, and highlight reels. We’ll illuminate their strengths and weaknesses and comment on their personalities and reputations. It will be some fun. If there is anyone you want to see “On the Spot”, feel free to comment below.
There comes a time in every footballers life when they have to hang up their national team boots. It just so happens that time has come for DaMarcus Beasley. Just a few weeks after Landon Donovan announced his retirement from football altogether, Beasley followed suit, choosing to retire from the national team. He will still continue his club football, having signed as a designated player with the Houston Dynamo. That is pretty good for a player who wasn’t even the most hyped player in his own family.
DaMarcus Beasley was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a state that is more known for the Hoosiers and their love of basketball. He and his older brother Jamar grew up loving football, becoming pretty good at the sport. Jamar was a heavily hyped player, and entered the MLS straight out of high school. Drinking and partying derailed his career, and he never got it back on track. DaMarcus took a different route, enrolling in the IMG Academy for his final two years of high school. People knew him as “Jamar’s brother,” but DaMarcus had skills of his own to showcase. He joined Landon Donovan as the United States stars-in-the-making, playing together at IMG Academy, and on the youth USA teams. From there Beasley signed a Project 40 (now Generation adidas) contract, and became a professional player.
To Europe and Back
After signing his Project 40 contract, Beasley was allocated to the LA Galaxy, but was almost immediately traded to the Chicago Fire. Being in Chicago helped him stay close with his family and friends, as Fort Wayne is only a short drive away. He played well for the next few seasons, racking up 14 goals and 20 assists over 98 appearances. As a young budding star, it was easy to see why some of the top European clubs were giving him a look.
The MLS accepted a $2.5 million offer from Eredivisie power PSV Eindhoven, so Beasley packed his bags and headed to the Netherlands. Somewhat unfortunately, Beasley was brought in to try and replace Arjen Robben, who had just moved to the Premier League. He won a league title in his first season with the club, and became the first American ever to appear in a Champions League semifinal. He even led the team in goals during that Champions League campaign, with 4 goals in 12 games. He won another title with PSV despite not playing very well, which led to Beasley being loaned to Manchester City.
Beasley’s time with Manchester City was marred by injury, leading to limited time on the pitch. It was clear that Beasley had the talent to hang with the big boys in the Premier League, but injuries held him back from truly proving himself. He did stay in the UK though, signing with Rangers of the Scottish Premier League in 2007. Although Rangers were winning titles, Beasley was not seeing the field much, resulting in a move to Hannover 96 in 2010. Hannover was a short stay for Beasley, only recording 4 appearances for the German club.
Beasley spent the next few years having a little fun in the sun down in Mexico, playing for Puebla FC. His club career had resurgence while in Mexico, while also revitalizing his international career as well. After the World Cup this summer, Beasley made his move back to the MLS. He was given Designated Player status, and the Houston Dynamo cleared enough cap space to sign the American.
It is likely that Beasley will end his career in the MLS, which is fitting considering he started it here.
Four Stars with His Stripes
For all the hype the media projected about Landon Donovan being the first American to possibly play in four World Cups, they certainly forgot about the player that actually achieved the feat. Yep, DaMarcus Beasley is now the lone American to play in four World Cups. He was a great veteran addition to the relatively young squad that Jurgen Klinsmann took to Brazil. He certainly helped steer the back line through the Group of Death and progress to the knockout stage. He even captained the United States to their 2013 Gold Cup victory.
Unfortunately for The Yanks, Beasley has decided to hang up the boots on his international career. Playing in four World Cups is definitely something to hang your hat on, a record that will hopefully symbolize what was a great career. His career ends with 17 goals in 121 appearances for the national team.
Beasley’s style has changed and adapted as he has grown older. Early in his career, he was used as a left side midfielder or winger, but he has also adapted and played left back. With his clubs he played more midfield, while with the national team he played almost exclusively at left back under Jurgen Klinsmann. His calm demeanor has been beneficial in many situations, including when he was suffering racial abuse while playing in Europe. In addition to his calming presence on the back line, he has great body control and can use his head in the box. He has a powerful left foot to strike powerful goals while finishing with finesse with his right.