After retiring from the Houston Dynamo in 2019, US national team legend DaMarcus Beasley knew he wanted to stay involved in the sport he dedicated his life to. And in May 2020, Beasley told ESPN's Jeff Carlisle that he had aspirations to get involved in USL ownership.
At the time, Beasley had secured about 60% of the financing needed to bring a League One side to his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The USL was considering some 50 markets and planned to announce five expansion clubs by the end of 2020.
On Wednesday, that dream became a reality.
The USL announced that Fort Wayne FC will be joining the Great Lakes Division in USL League Two for the 2021-2022 seasons and then moving to USL League One in 2023 — with Beasley a part of the ownership group.
“Being involved with a group to bring professional soccer to my hometown is truly a dream come true,” Beasley said in his club’s announcement. “I’m extremely excited to get started with this new challenge and to work side by side with the Fort Wayne community.”
Looking to other former players-turned-owners Landon Donovan and Tim Howard for advice, Beasley knows he has a lot to learn.
"Trust me, this is not me saying, 'I can do this. I can do that.' No, not at all," Beasley told ESPN. "I'm 100% even willing to take a lower role and learn the business, learn the day in and day out, really getting my feet wet with the team. And making decisions and seeing, OK, this works, this doesn't work. OK, you guys did this here, but maybe that didn't work.”
For 2021, Fort Wayne FC’s home will be Bishop Dwenger High School’s Shields Field. There is a plan in the works for a dedicated soccer stadium in the future, potentially in the River North area of downtown, that will hopefully be completed by the time the club moves to League One in 2023.