When you think about the best players to ever patrol the left side of the field for the United States, one name that’s going to come up is DaMarcus Beasley. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Beasley hit the scene when he was 16 years old, signing with the LA Galaxy before getting quickly traded to the Chicago Fire in 1999. His career took off with the Fire, where he scored 14 goals on the left wing and provided the offensive pizzazz that many American fans were looking for. After 4 years with the Fire, he moved onto PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, enjoying success with them for 3 seasons. He also had stints with Manchester City on loan, Rangers, and a brief stint with Hannover 96 before heading back to North America to star for Puebla in his early 30s. He currently plays on the Houston Dynamo.
One thing that has defined Beasley’s career has been his resilience but also his versatility. In 2002, he was one of the young stars on the USMNT during the World Cup, helping the team to the quarterfinals. When the team needed to create some offense, Beasley was there. His speed on the flank was something that few teams could match, and when “Run-DMB” was on the left side storming down the field with the ball, it was a foot race most weren’t winning.
He was one of the mainstays on the national team for years. In 2005, Beasley’s incredible performance against Mexico in World Cup qualifying, including a goal, helped the USMNT beat their archrivals 2-0 in Columbus to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. He also won the Golden Boot at the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, he hit a rough patch during the 2006 World Cup team. While he assisted on the lone U.S. goal (by Clint Dempsey against Ghana), he was criticized for his overall dismal performance.
In 2010, however, he demonstrated his versatility. Before a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago, then-U.S. head coach Bob Bradley asked DaMarcus Beasley to play left back. And so he did, starting the match and playing all 90 minutes. Afterwards, he said it was the first time he had ever played 90 minutes at left back. His transformation to defender had begun. While he preferred the midfield, Beasley began to play more and more at left back. He was named to the 2010 World Cup roster but only played one match (against Algeria) and featured more as a backup at that left back position.
This part of his career is where his resilience comes in. After spot appearances in 2011 and 2012, Beasley was called up for several World Cup qualifiers in 2013. He flourished, earning rave reviews for his play. Remaining at left back but occasionally being called to patrol the left wing, his calm, collected play and his ability to use speed on the flanks to pressure opposing midfields was a welcome return to the lineup. Run-DMB was back. He made the World Cup team in 2014, becoming one of 3 American players to appear on 4 World Cup rosters. His start against Ghana in the USMNT’s opening 2014 World Cup match made him the first American to ever play in 4 World Cups.
Beasley is still going strong today. After retiring from the USMNT in 2014, he continued his great play for Puebla and then the Dynamo. It was enough to be recalled for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he only appeared in the 3rd place game for the USMNT. Run-DMB continued to perform when called upon, and when he started for the USMNT in a World Cup qualifier in 2017 in Mexico City, he became the first American to play in 5 World Cup qualifying cycles.
DaMarcus Beasley has done it all: over 350 caps for club, 126 international caps (7th most all-time for the USMNT), 57 club goals, 17 goals for country. He has lifted 4 Gold Cups, 2 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, and a Supporters Shield, among his many accolades. DaMarcus Beasley is truly one of the legends of American soccer, and whenever he decided to hang it up for good, the Hall of Fame is surely calling. Who knows...with his resiliency, we could see Beasley compete for several more years to come.