GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It’s been a long, winding road for DaMarcus Beasley, from MLS to Europe and into the Liga MX.
But unlike his onetime Bradenton Academy classmate Landon Donovan, Beasley hasn’t reconsidered his US national team future for a millisecond. And at age 30, like his fellow three-time World Cup veteran, he’s eagerly hoping for another call from Jurgen Klinsmann.
“Whenever there’s a national team game coming up, you know you want to be selected,” Beasley told MLSsoccer.com after Puebla’s game against Atlas last Sunday in the Estadio Jalisco. “I know that I’m still part of the group and if it happens that I get called in, great.”
With the USMNT making the long trip to Russia for a friendly on Nov. 14, Beasley is eager to get his first call-up since the famous victory in the Estadio Azteca in August and move one step closer to earning that emblematic 100th cap.
“It’d be great,” he said. “I’ve only three left to go, so I hope I get the opportunity to do that. I’ve got to keep working with Puebla and hope it works out for the best.”
Beasley is certainly making the most of it down south. Despite being in one of the poorest clubs in the Liga MX, he has earned respect in Mexico both for his tenacity for sticking with the struggling Poblanos for almost 18 months, which is rare for foreigners, as well his ability on the field.
But what Beasley has done in Mexico is no different to what he has already accomplished in Scotland and the Netherlands, proving himself to be one of the finest American players of his generation and well adept at adapting to different types of soccer.
All this against a backdrop where the description “challenging” is probably an understatement. Puebla have struggled in every one of the three split seasons that the former Chicago Fire star has been at the club and hasn’t once made the postseason. There have been five coaches during Beasley’s time there, he’s seen tax officials come into the club to repossess items and he’s even had to bribe Mexican cops.
On the field, this season has been slightly harder for the Fort Wayne, Ind., native, who has yet to score in 13 appearances after scoring five times last season.
“Yeah, my form’s been OK,” he assessed. “Obviously, I’d want to be able to score more goals and do different things. You have to look at your own performance and it’s never good enough. I’m my own worst critic.”
While his days of marauding down the left wing while with PSV may have slightly diminished, Beasley is still speedy, still has that technical ability that saw him succeed in Europe and very rarely gives the ball away.
With the season in Mexico coming to an end after next weekend for Puebla and the other teams not involved in the playoffs, inevitably there will be talk about Beasley moving on to pastures new, perhaps to a Mexican club that is challenging a little further up the table, or perhaps back to MLS.
The fact there would be no shortage of takers is testament to what he has done in Mexico getting his career back on track after a tough last stint in Europe at Hannover 96, where injury hampered his playing time.
For now though, Beasley is coy about his future, concentrating on Saturday’s season finale against Querétaro and hoping the call comes to tell him that his next stop will be Russia, with the national team on Nov. 14.
“I’ve got a contract next season with Puebla,” he said. “So we’ll see how it goes.”
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.