Beasley still interested in playing for national team

Jul 28, 2015, 12:54 AM

DENVER (AP) — A quick heads up to Jurgen Klinsmann: Should you ever need DaMarcus Beasley for national team duty again, just call. The veteran of four World Cups will always listen.

Beasley was coaxed out of his retirement from the national team by the U.S. coach for the CONCACAF Gold Cup competition and played in Saturday’s penalty-kicks loss to Panama during the third-place game.

“If Klinsmann needs me to come in, I’ll come in,” said Beasley, the 33-year-old Houston Dynamo standout who is set to play against Tottenham in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday. “If not, I’m very happy to watch the youth come in and play a huge part.

“At the end of the day, I’m a fan of U.S. soccer. I want to see the program grow. There are a lot of good, young players coming up and I’m excited to see how they do.”

There’s a part of him that doesn’t want his game Saturday to be his last for the U.S. Beasley missed the final penalty kick.

“This is going to hurt for a while for me,” he said after the game.

The U.S. plays Mexico on Oct. 9 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, for CONCACAF’S spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. And the Americans start 2018 World Cup qualifying in November.

Beasley’s ready for any role — should Klinsmann needs him.

If not, no regrets.

“I play every game like it’s my last,” said Beasley, a midfielder for most of his career before being shifted to left back by Klinsmann for a match in March 2013. “But I want to make it last as long as possible, as long as my legs keep me going. Just enjoy it and have fun.”

Beasley has certainly had a memorable career and is in no hurry to step away from the Major League Soccer. He’s not sure how long he’ll play, but insisted he will know when the time is right.

“I’m not going to be one of those players that are playing at 40 and should’ve retired at 35,” said Beasley, a four-time MLS All-Star. “That’s not going to be me.

“When I do retire, it’s on a high note, in a good league, on a good level. I’m happy in the MLS and in Houston.”

His career has taken him all over the world. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he started his professional career with the Chicago Fire from 2000-04, winning a pair of U.S. Open Cups. He played overseas for PSV Eindhoven, Manchester City, Glasgow Rangers, Hannover and Puebla before returning to MLS in July 2014 with Houston.

Over his time on the field, he’s made 22 Champions League appearances and became the first American to play in four Worlds Cups.

“He’s a good guy to have on your team, on the field,” said Benny Feilhaber, a midfielder for Sporting Kansas City. “He’s had a ridiculous career. What is he, like 40? I think he’ll play until he’s 50.”

Probably not. He’s pretty certain he’ll be watching the 2018 World Cup in Russia from his couch. But he reserves the right to change his mind.

“That’s a long time and I’ll be 36 then,” Beasley said. “There are a lot of left backs that are hungry and want that position.”

He believes the U.S. squad is on the right path, even if the team suffered a setback during the Gold Cup after beating the Netherlands and Germany in exhibitions last month.

“The sky is not falling,” Beasley said. “Ten years ago, if we lost the Gold Cup, not many people would’ve cared and we wouldn’t have as much criticism as we do now. Soccer is growing in this country. We take that criticism and don’t take it lightly. We welcome it.

“It’s not the end of the world. We’ll be all right.”

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Beasley still interested in playing for national team