CLEVELAND – It has been a long time since DaMarcus Beasley earned his first US men’s national team cap; 12 years to be exact.
But that doesn't mean he's lost any of the youthful exuberance that has made him a staple for the Americans. And now he's set to add another milestone to his illustrious US career – his 100th cap – should he play, as expected, for the Americans in their friendly against Belgium on Wednesday (8 pm ET, ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). Hitting the century mark is something Beasley did not think was possible just a couple of years ago.
“I think I had doubts that I would get to 100, but I never had doubts that I would play for the national team again,” Beasley told reporters before the US trained at FirstEnergy Field here on Monday. “It may have been one or two games and then I’ll be out again, but I never doubted that I’d be back [with the] national team.
“Like I’ve always said, I’ve always had confidence in my ability, how I play. Even when I wasn’t playing in Germany, I still had confidence that just give me one situation to getting back to playing regularly, playing 90 minutes pretty much game in, game out, and I’ll get my chance and that’s happened."
Beasley, who debuted for the Americans in a friendly against China on Jan. 27, 2001, has enjoyed a renaissance with the US in recent months. After being ignored for much of 2012, Beasley was summoned back into the fold by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann this past March and the versatile left-footed player delivered a pair of strong outings as a makeshift left back en route to helping the US pick up four points from two tough World Cup qualifiers.
Those performances tossed Beasley back into the conversation while also reminding fans what he can offer. But it is the chances he has received with Mexican club Puebla that he truly credits for his national team revival.
“Playing there, living, the experience that I’ve had so far the last two years have been great, on and off the field,” said Beasley. “Puebla has given me a great opportunity to play and basically bring me back to life. I owe a lot of credit to Puebla for giving me the opportunity to play.”
While Beasley, 30, is eagerly looking forward to earning his 100th cap, he is also keen to reflect on the past. He said two of the highlights of his US career are his first international goal against South Korea in the 2002 Gold Cup and his start in the Americans’ win over Portugal in the World Cup later that year.
There are plenty others, however. After all, Beasley has played in three World Cups, dozens of World Cup qualifiers and the US’s first win at Estadio Azteca last August.
“It’s been some good games, some bad games, some ups and downs with the national team,” said Beasley. “But all in all, I’m honored to play for this team, for this country, to go out and wear the crest across my chest every time we go out and hear the national anthem.
“For me, it’s just been a great ride. And hopefully it’s not over yet.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.