BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, October 14, 2011
While this past international window had ups and downs for the US national team, one of the positives was the return of long time veteran DaMarcus Beasley.
Beasley has not been with the team since the 2010 World Cup and he has struggled with playing time during the last three years with his clubs Rangers and Hannover.
Over the summer, however, Beasley surprisingly moved to Mexico and signed with Puebla. There he has not only emerged as a key player for the team but he has also seen a rebirth in his career.
"I just want to play," Beasley told YA. "I always had confidence in my own ability. I never doubted myself. I always knew I just had to get the right opportunity and just show I'm the same player that can make things happen and help a team. When I went down to Mexico, the president, the coach, and the team all wanted me."
Beasley has scored two goals so far this season while he has played in 11 of the team's 12 games. His consistent play saw him rewarded with a callup from Jurgen Klinsmann to the US national team for the recent October friendlies against Honduras and Ecuador.
When Klinsmann was hired as the US national team coach in August he called up Beasley for a game against Mexico but Beasley did not feature in that game after a brief two day camp.
When Beasley was selected for the October friendlies he had the opportunity to play in an extended camp for the first time under Klinsmann.
Beasley featured as a second half substitute in both the 1-0 victory over Honduras and a 1-0 loss to Ecuador. His strong performances were a reminder of the way he used to play for the US team a half decade ago when his speed was a prominent part of the US team's attack.
This far under Klinsmann, Beasley enjoys the aggressive style of play that the new coach is trying to bring to the team and he is confident that despite only two goals in five games, the team will improve.
"It's high tempo," Beasley explained. "He loves to attack and that's a good thing. For us it's going to take time. Obviously Bradley's style was a little bit different. Guys were used to one way so now we have to adjust. But I think so far, so good. It's going okay."
Specifically, Beasley enjoys that Klinsmann wants attacking players to make plays and he gives them the freedom to use their creativity.
Beasley has always thrived as a player when he is allowed to play a more open style and he predicts that he will continue to succeed with the US national team under Klinsmann.
"Jurgen wants attacking players," Beasley pointed out. "He wants players to express themselves and to go at defenders. Don't worry about losing the ball, go out there and make something happen. That's good for us attacking players. When a coach is telling you do that, it makes you feel good. Obviously he is trying implement his style and a way to play - but results give us confidence and the team confidence."
For Beasley, it's also not the tactics that Klinsmann brings to the team, it is also the spirit and enthusiasm. Klinsmann earned the reputation as being a charismatic coach when he lead Germany at the 2006 World Cup and Beasley has noticed this same approach towards coaching the US.
"He's different but he's a good different," Beasley pointed out. "He's always full of life - always laughing, always smiling. He's very energetic. You can tell he's happy to be here as coach of the national team. I just think that his persona will rub off on us and give us that same kind of fight and passion. The same as he had when he was a player."
Beasley's two appearances last week have brought him to 95 total international caps for the United States. Beasley used to be a regular with the US national team however in 2010 and 2011 he has earned just six total caps. The last time he started for the USMNT was against Brazil on June 19, 2009 at the Confederations Cup.
Beasley admits that he now is a little nervous when entering into the games because it has been a long time since he was a consistent player for the United States. He is more appreciative each time he steps on field at age 29 after seeing his career have both ups and downs. This latest upward turn has been a especially rewarding experience for the Ft. Wayne native.
"Yeah [I'm] a little nervous," Beasley said without hesitation. "I'm anxious. I just want to play and get back into the swing of things. I enjoy being with the national team - whether it's being a 90 minute player, or being a 30 minute player off the bench, or even just a five minute player. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to coach to want me. Being around the guys again has been great."
As for the future of the team under Klinsmann, Beasley is hopeful that the team can start scoring and winning soon. After five games, the team has won just once and has scored only two goals. The number of friendlies ahead of World Cup qualifying is limited and Beasley sense that the team is anxious for results.
"We're hungry," Beasley concluded. "We want to start getting results. That's what US Soccer is about. That's what we need to do as we starting going into next year and World Cup qualifying."