NEW YORK — US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann picked the most inexperienced squad — at least as far as the World Cup is concerned — since 1994. Only five players of the 23 headed to Brazil have played in an actual World Cup match.
But veteran DaMarcus Beasley, who leads the way with seven World Cup appearances since first featuring in 2002 in Japan/Korea, isn’t worried about the relatively green (!) players in the squad.
In fact, Beasley expects the likes of Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, DeAndre Yedlin, and, of course, 18-year-old once-capped Julian Green, to succeed not in spite of their lack of experience, but because of it.
“The guys who haven’t played in the World Cup have no fear,” he said on Friday at a USMNT media event here in New York. “They don’t know what to expect. They don’t know if the game’s going to be slower or faster. But I think that works in our favor because they’re going to go out like I did in ’02. They’re just going to go out and play.”
Beasley, 32, is on the verge of becoming the first American to participate in four World Cups. His seven appearances in the World Cup ties him for 10th all-time for the USMNT. His last appearance came as a second-half substitute against Algeria during group play in 2010.
Now, as he embarks on what he knows is most likely his final World Cup adventure, it’s almost impossible for a little nostalgia not to creep into his thoughts.
“What I told the young guys and even some of the guys who haven’t been to the World Cup was, ‘Enjoy the moment. Enjoy it, because you might not ever get another chance to be at the World Cup again,” he said. “Enjoy things off the field with your family. Enjoy things we do as a team — that you guys [in the media] don’t know about.
"Enjoy everything about the World Cup. Embrace it. Take it all in. Because you never know if you’ll get to go to another World Cup and you’ll always remember this moment for your whole life. That’s what I did when I was young.”
Nostalgic or not, you can’t say that philosophy didn’t work out for Beasley.