First, there was Tim Howard. Soon, Landon Donovan followed. And now, DaMarcus Beasley wants to be the next former US men’s national team and MLS standout to get into USL club ownership.
Beasley is in the process of getting funding together for a proposed League One side in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana. The legend tells ESPN he’s got more than half the financing in order, as well as political support from Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry.
There’s also been preliminary talks about a 7,500-seat stadium on a parcel of city-owned land in the North River area of downtown. And plenty of potential partners who have a connection with Beasley, who has maintained a relationship with his hometown through a soccer school.
“It's kind of funny," Beasley told ESPN FC during a video call. "They're all, 'back when you were in high school, you played with my son. That made a connection. Now it's just literally getting the final touches on the land — crossing the T's and dotting I's and then, hopefully, everybody can be on board. Obviously, we hit a snag because of the coronavirus; we had to take a step back. But we're in stages where it is definitely progressing.”
"Now it's just literally getting the final touches on the land -- crossing the T's and dotting I's and then, hopefully, everybody can be on board."— USL League One (@USLLeagueOne) May 17, 2020
More on @DaMarcusBeasley's plan to bring pro soccer to Fort Wayne, Indiana ⤵️ https://t.co/cgigD9X9QV
Upon retirement following the 2019 season with the Houston Dynamo, Beasley knew he wanted to stay involved in the sport, but was unsure of in what capacity. He met with many to help inform his decision, including his former USMNT teammates who have already made the foray into the USL.
Howard, a part owner, sporting director and player with Championship side Memphis 901 FC, told Beasley of the league’s desire to work with Beasley. And Donovan, San Diego Local part owner and head coach, also provided some advice.
"Timmy has been very helpful and actually I've spoken to Landon this week, and we're going to speak again soon," Beasley said. "But I'm just talking to different guys like that, just trying to get as much information as I can about USL, about the new projects and franchises going into league. So just that whole concept really intrigued me."