There have been few constants since the millennium turned in the world of soccer, particularly in our slice of the game in North America. One thing you could rely on was DaMarcus Beasley marauding up and down the left flank of some field, somewhere.
That soon will change.
Beasley announced this season would be his last this week, putting an expiration date on his incredible 20-year career which has spanned from MLS, to Europe and the Champions League, Liga MX, and of course, four World Cups and more Gold Cups.
“When you know, you know," Beasley said on a media conference call on Wednesday. "There’s no rhyme or reason, not something special is going to happen. When you know, you know. You might wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and be like ‘you know what? This is it. I’m ready.’ For me, it was like that.”
Beasley admitted he even considered making 2018 his last season, but he wasn't ready to hang up the boots just yet.
“I thought about it a little bit last season, to bow out with winning the Open Cup," Beasley said. "But I still felt I had something left, I still felt I could give a little more to the team, to the club. But they had to want me back, it’s got to be a two-way street. When I sat down with the coaching staff and they said they would like to have me back, it made my decision pretty easy.”
Beasley's career has been one of the best of his generation. He has made 211 MLS appearances to date between stints with the Chicago Fire (2000-04) and Houston Dynamo (2014-current). On the international level, he was the first American men's player to appear at four World Cups then became the first to appear in five World Cup qualifying cycles. He is a four-time Gold Cup champion (2002, 2005, 2007, 2013). His 126 caps are seventh all-time for the USMNT.
“This obviously wasn’t a spur of the moment thing," Beasley said. "I spoke to the coaching staff in preseason. I told them this was going to be my last season. Out of respect for the coaches and club, I wanted to let them know that was in my head. It was just about when I was going to announce it.”
His knee surgery following an injury during Concacaf Champions League play made the matter of when a bit more tricky.
“I actually wanted to announce it around when the US national team came to Houston, but I was injured. I didn’t want to make it seem like I was retiring because I had surgery, maybe people would be thinking I wouldn’t be the same player, or whatever. I didn’t want that. I wanted to do it on my terms. Plan B was around my birthday. And I did.”
Beasley turns 37 on Friday.
As for his legacy, Beasley has never been the type of person to highlight his own attributes. He prefers to deflect praise. In fact, he started his own conference call by congratulating Chad Marshall, who announced his own retirement that morning, on his career.
He could think of one thing, though.
“One thing I can pinpoint is that you could always count on me in big games," Beasley said. "Under the lights, when it really meant something — whether that’s in the final, Champions League games, World Cup. When it came down to a big game and you need guys to show personality, stand up, be accounted for and be steady, not let the atmosphere get to you, that was one thing I was pretty good at. If I was to be remembered by something, that’d be pretty cool.”