DaMarcus Beasley comes out of international retirement to join U.S. in Gold Cup
By Ryan Baillargeon
The Baltimore Sun|
Jul 16, 2015 | 3:09 PM
A familiar face stepped off the U.S. men's soccer national team's bus Thursday morning at the squad's practice at UMBC's Retriever Soccer Park.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann summoned 33-year-old DaMarcus Beasley, who announced his international retirement in December, from the 35-man preliminary roster to join the active squad for the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
And despite stepping away from the U.S. team seven months ago, Beasley is eager to help the squad try to capture its second straight Gold Cup title. He was captain of the 2013 team that won the tournament and his teammates appreciate the veteran presence.
"I wasn't expecting to be back here," Beasley said. "I retired for a reason, to spend more time with my family and stuff like that. But what player is going to say no? This is a chance to win something as a group."
Beasley, whose daughter turned 1 year old in March, has started all 19 games for the Houston Dynamo in the MLS this season. But in an effort to have more family time, the left back retired from the national team at the end of last year.
He first considered coming out of retirement for the Gold Cup in early June. Beasley woke up from a nap to see a missed call from Klinsmann, who Beasley said he hadn't spoken with since he told the coach he was retiring.
Beasley said he figured the coach was just calling to check in. But after listening to his voicemail, he learned Klinsmann wanted him as an option for the Gold Cup team.
"It took me by surprise," Beasley said. "The next day we spoke on the phone at length about it, and he gave me time to think about it, obviously. But at the end of the day, I made myself available and it was his decision whether he felt he wanted to bring me in or not."
Klinsmann added Beasley to the 35-man preliminary roster before the tournament started, but didn't include him on the active 23-man roster during the group stage. After the U.S. concluded group play Monday night, though, Klinsmann had a 24-hour window when he was allowed to make up to six changes using the preliminary roster.
Activating Beasley for Saturday's quarterfinal against Cuba at M&T Bank Stadium was one of the three moves Klinsmann made.
"Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge, because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings," Klinsmann said when the move was announced. "He brings a lot of experience into this group, and he's hungry. He's still as hungry as Day 1 in his career."
Beasley is the only American to play in four World Cups and this will mark his sixth Gold Cup. His 121 international appearances are fifth-most in U.S. history and most of any member on the active squad.
"He leads by example in terms of his training, in terms of performances in games," goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. "Instantly, he commands the respect of everyone in camp because of what he's accomplished."
Said captain Michael Bradley: "It's great to see DaMarcus. His presence in the group is so important. He is a leader. He just comes in and has a great way about him in terms of the way he trains and the way he carries himself. Nothing throws him for a loop in any group. The more of these kinds of guys you can have, it's always a good thing. We're all happy to have him with us."
Thursday marked the first time Beasley was reunited with his teammates. He landed in the Baltimore area around 8 p.m. Wednesday night after he said he had a nine-hour delay.
The veteran said he still got butterflies when he packed his bag to join the squad. And while Beasley's role for Saturday isn't yet known, he is back playing for the team with which he spent nearly half his life. And the reason he stepped away will be watching.
"It'll be a good showing from the Beasley family on Saturday," he said.