US men’s national team all-time great DaMarcus Beasley recently joined former teammate Jimmy Conrad for an interview on the latter’s Twitch channel, where they shared an honest conversation about race in America.
Specifically, Beasley described the conversations his father had with his sons about how to act. His father grew up in Savannah, Georgia and experienced racial tensions first-hand.
“We had those conversations and you had to act a certain way,” Beasley said. “He would say, ‘Make sure you don’t have anyone in your car that you don’t know, make sure you don’t wear your hat backwards if you wear a hat, make sure your hair is always cut, make sure you look presentable whenever you’re around people and outside doing whatever.’ Those things you get taught as a kid, growing up black in this country.”
Before retiring as a Houston Dynamo defender last year, Beasley enjoyed a 20-year professional career that started with the Chicago Fire in 2000 and spanned more than 500 games for club and country, with stops at PSV Eindhoven, Manchester City, Glasgow Rangers, Hannover 96 and Liga MX side Puebla.
He encountered players of all race and backgrounds, but diversity was difficult to find during his Fort Wayne, Indiana upbringing.
“I only had three Black teammates through that whole process, throughout my whole soccer career in Fort Wayne,” Beasley said. “So, I didn’t really see color back then.”
Eventually, Beasley went off to U.S. Soccer’s residency program in Bradenton, Florida. At that juncture, it was inspiring to see other Black players at the same level: “It was great to see and finally be with someone that looked like you and knew how hard it took to get there and to be able to joke a certain way, to get the jokes we’re kinda used to it.”
For more from Beasley on race in America, his distinguished career and more, check out the entire interview here.