Hes coming to you from Jamaica right now, and theres your place to open this fortunate tale. DaMarcus Beasley comes to you from Jamaica, and if thats a good thing, a marvelous thing, its only a tiny piece of an even more marvelous whole.
There is this, for instance: At 31, hes back with his national team again.
At 31, hes a forward learning how to play left half, and that is an education even if youre not 31, even if youre 19 or 20 or 21 and still a young man in a young mans game. At 31, DaMarcus Beasley has become, well, venerable – and that is something a kid only dreams about when he starts bumping soccer balls around and discovers there is something breathtaking and gorgeous in it.
And so here he is, playing for the United States again after a years absence, and, listen, this hardly ever happens when a player gets north of 30. Beasley can say its not that unusual, and maybe in his case its not. But hell also say he was surprised when the new national coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, gave him a jingle.
Last two years, Ive been kind of in and out with the national team, admits Beasley, who takes the field again tonight in Kingston against Jamaica. Ive kind of been on the brim trying to get (back).
Now hes back, and finding new life in a new place. Primarily a forward all his life, Beasley is on the back line now, where Klinsmann figures his athleticism and veteran savvy will be most useful. And he has, for the most part, thrived there; Klinsmann has started him at left half the last three games, and last week, in a 4-2 loss to Belgium in Cleveland, Beasley became only the 13th player in U.S. history to earn his 100th cap – i.e., play in 100 international games.
Venerable. Oh, yes.
Hes just so simple in focusing on his job, Klinsmann told Nicholas Rosano of MLSoccer.com after the match. He knows, My role is to keep my side clean there and go forward when theres an opportunity and to help the guys wherever I can.
Beasley isnt sure its that clear in his mind yet. He has, he says, played only four, four or five games at left half. And even though hes played some fullback in the Liga Mexico for Puebla, his most recent team, hes mainly been a forward and still thinks of himself that way.
Its a new position with new responsibilities, says Beasley, who played well enough in his 100th cap to earn Budweiser Man of the Match honors as the best player on the field for the U.S. Its defense first, not offense first. Thats sort of different for me.
I credit myself for learning to do that. Yeah, it is still a lot of learning in practice. Its going to take time to be 100 percent confident.
He hopes he has that time. At 31, after all, time is a precious commodity; there are no guarantees hell still be on the U.S. team come World Cup time, and even his gig with Puebla seems imperiled. Word out of Guadalajara this week was that Puebla had placed him on the clubs transfer list after negotiations for a new contract fell apart.
For now, though, he has found a niche. And at the top of the sport, that is everything.
It depends on your form, he says, when asked how unusual this all is. It depends on your form, how youre playing, other elements. What youre doing in your everyday life in football. I was off it for a year. It was tough to get back, but I always felt confident in my ability that if I got into a situation where I was playing day in and day out, that I would hopefully get back on the national team.
Puebla opened that door for him. And DaMarcus Beasley stepped on through.
Coming to you from Jamaica, with 100 caps at his back. O, lucky man.