HOUSTON – One phone call can change everything. Especially when the person on the other end has an offer you can't refuse.
When US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called the internationally retired DaMarcus Beasley, that’s what he had. The USMNT boss made it clear that he wants the four-time World Cup veteran back in the fold.
“It was out of the blue,” Beasley said Thursday. “The last time we spoke was when I called him to say I was retiring. We spoke and we had a couple of conversations before I made my decision. He said, ‘Beas, I understand, obviously, you’re retired from the national team, but it’d be great to have you again.’ I made my decision, and I feel good about it. I thought about it, but what player is going to say no?”
After reflecting, Beasley opened himself up to a call-up and was included, along with teammate Brad Davis, on the provisional roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Beasley had retired from international soccer in December, announcing his decision via Instagram. Speaking to media on Thursday, he said he was not a player who would “play until they’re 40 and they should’ve retired when they were 35,” but he still feels he can help the US team.
How much Beasley will be involved in the Gold Cup is yet to be decided. Neither Davis nor Beasley hinted at what their role will be or if they will be named to the 23-man roster.
“He said, obviously, we’ll decide if I’m going to play the whole tournament or if I’m just going to come for the quarterfinal, final and semis if we do qualify,” Beasley said. The left back said he has not settled on what schedule is best. “He’s given me a lot of leeway. We’ll talk in the next couple of weeks and see just where I’m at, how I’m feeling and what’s my final thoughts. Obviously, he’s the coach, so he’ll have the final thoughts.”
Teams are allowed to call as many as six additional players from the provisional roster after the group stage concludes. With eight of the 12 teams advancing, the US is expected to play knockout games. A truncated schedule would lessen the blow on the Dynamo.
“My own personal point of view: Would it serve [a] purpose, DaMarcus playing group games? I think balancing it with the ideal scenario would be if he gets involved from the quarterfinal stage, because we understand the US want to win the tournament and, also, I would think, the US could play one or two of the younger players,” Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle said. “That’s a conversation that will happen obviously between Jurgen, me and [Houston general manager] Matt Jordan and see if we can find a scenario that helps the country and at the same time helps the Houston Dynamo.”
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Beasley did not commit to international action beyond the Gold Cup and chose to keep much of his talk with Klinsmann private.
As with many clubs around MLS, any games missed by Beasley or Davis will make things dicey on the home front. The Dynamo are already prepared to be without four starters, as Giles Barnes and Jermaine Taylor are sure bets to represent Jamaica, as are Luis Garrido and Boniek Garcia for Honduras.
Roster issues have not fallen on deaf ears in Beasley, but the allure of playing for the US again and the potentially delayed schedule was too much to pass up.
“He owes me a bunch of money; I made a bet with him he wasn’t done,” Davis joked when asked about Beasley’s decision. “No, you watch DaMarcus, and it’s the same thing with Landon [Donovan]. You watch Landon walk out of the game, but you know he can still play. You watch Beas walk away from the national team, but you watch him play, and he can easily still play.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.