DaMarcus Beasley

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DaMarcus Beasley has some fixes for American soccer

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NEW YORK (AP) DaMarcus Beasley wants to stick around soccer when he retires at the end of the MLS season.

He just wants to move upstairs.

Beasley has no interest in coaching, but he wants to try the management side of the sport he has played for decades. And the captain of the Houston Dynamo thinks he has something to offer, too.

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“I would love to learn the business side of football,” Beasley told The Associated Press. “What it takes to put a team together day-in, day-out. That part of it intrigues me a lot.”

The 37-year-old Beasley is heading into the final stretch of a decorated playing career. The Dynamo (9-13-3) have dropped four in a row heading into Saturday night’s game against Colorado, and they are going to need a strong finish to extend Beasley’s 20-year career into the playoffs.

Beasley is the only American to play in four World Cups or appear in a Champions League semifinal. The former PSV and Manchester City left back played his last international match during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which concluded with the U.S. missing the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Beasley thinks structural changes are needed to get the U.S. back into soccer’s premier event, but concedes much of the minutia eludes him.

“Do I want change? Yeah. Do I know the ins and outs about how to go about it? Not really,” Beasley said. “Once I think I get into that role, or whatever role I’ll be in on the business side of football, then I’ll know this needs to change, that needs to change. This is the way this could work.”

Beasley, a Fort Wayne, Indiana native, believes ego is getting in the way of that institutional change.

“All the soccerheads, we all want the same thing. I think one thing we all need to stop doing, 100%, is that everyone thinks they know everything. No one wants to listen. A lot of coaches just say that my way is the right way. Very stuck-up, very ego-driven,” Beasley said. “That part I don’t like. I have my own schools, my soccer camps, and if I try to go to another city, they’ll say `Oh no, I know what I’m doing. We don’t need anything.’ It’s like, I’m not trying to take over anything. That part needs to change, 100%. The egos with the people that have power to make decisions. They need to change and open their minds and try to one day, hopefully win the World Cup. That’s what the whole thing is about.”

America’s youth soccer system has been cited by critics as part of the problem. The United States’ pay-to-play programs can make it more difficult for some households to participate.

“More of the rich kids get a chance than the little guy that just works just as hard and is probably even better but doesn’t have the ends to make ends meet and to make those sacrifices for their kids,” Beasley said.

Another oft-cited inadequacy is a reliance on athleticism as opposed to developing individual skill and team harmony. Beasley stressed that American soccer’s policymakers need to be open to diversifying its on-field philosophies.

“To have one style it’s – we’re not Brazil,” he said. “We can’t keep saying, `Oh, we want to be like Brazil. We want to be like Argentina.”‘

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

USMNT hero Beasley to retire after MLS season

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One of the best American exports of all-time is retiring after this season.

DaMarcus Beasley, who played in the top flight in six countries, will finish his playing career after this season with the Houston Dynamo.

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Beasley was capped 126 times in 17 years for the USMNT, and won four Gold Cups in addition to playing in four World Cups.

Beyond MLS level, where Beasley was an MLS All-Star before and after his European adventure, he played for PSV Eindhoven, Rangers, Manchester City, and Hannover 96. He also spent three seasons with Puebla in Liga MX.

The soon-to-be 37-year-old Beasley has been looking but not playing like everyone on the field’s uncle for some time, so there was definitely an air of immortality about the left back even if we knew this day was not too far off in the distance.

There are not too many players in USMNT history who’d rate above Beasley in terms of legacy and achievement — maybe Claudio Reyna, Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, and Carlos Bocanegra as deep but incomplete list? We wish him well, and a happy ending with Houston playing so well.

Beasley to miss 4-6 weeks with knee injury

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One of Major League Soccer’s elder statesman could have used this injury as a sign it’s time to hang up the boots. Instead, it will just be a brief spell on the sidelines.

DaMarcus Beasley posted a post-operation photo after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, according to the Houston Dynamo. Beasley said “I’ll be back in a flash” in his Instagram post after the surgery. The Dynamo did not specify when Beasley suffered this injury, but the 36-year-old has not played for the club in its first three league matches this season.

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If Beasley returns within the next four to six weeks, it would put his return around the middle to end of April. The Dynamo have a pair of home games at the end of April into May, against the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas, which may be a good time to bring Beasley back.

Open Cup Final preview: Union, Dynamo chase first USOC

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A first time winner of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is guaranteed, and on Wednesday we’ll find out whether the trophy is headed to Philadelphia or Houston.

For what it’s worth, teams from Philadelphia have won the cup in previous editions dating back to the mid-1930s and well into the 1960s, but neither the Philadelphia Union nor the Houston Dynamo have snared glory in this particular celebrated tournament.

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The Union have come the closest more often, losing back to back finals in 2014 and 2015, while the Dynamo play host in their first ever USOC final.

“This isn’t like any other game,” said DaMarcus Beasley. “There’s no tomorrow in this. Whatever you put into this game is what you’re going to get out of it, because it’s one and done. That’s what I’ve told all the players. It’s one night. You get 90 minutes… to prove that you’re the best team on that day.”

As for the Union, the memories of finals lost are more motivation than anything. From Philly.com:

“I would like them to write their own history,” Gaddis said. “Every game is a new game, every day is a new day. What’s in the past is in the past, but what we can try to control — we can’t control the future — is trying to win the first trophy for this organization.”

Philly feels the better bet, having fairly firm control of a playoff spot in the East while Houston’s stuck 10th in the West, but don’t forget that the Union traveled a long way from home while Dynamo’s plus-4 goal differential — better than five current playoff teams –shows they aren’t a mess.

Back to the future: US World Cup veterans reunite with Arena

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Demspey and Tim Howard were with Bruce Arena the last time the U.S. coach guided the Americans into World Cup qualifying – way back 12 years ago.

“It’s a long time for a coach, too, I might add,” cracked the 65-year-old Arena, “I had a lot more hair 12 years ago.”

Jozy Altidore played for Arena during his debut season of Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls in 2006 and part of `07.

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The Americans are counting on that familiarity and experience in big matches when they face Honduras at home Friday in World Cup qualifying.

“He’s been around U.S. Soccer for a very long time. I think that helps him a bit in his approach,” Altidore said after Tuesday’s training in a steady rain at Avaya Stadium. “He’s a guy that everybody’s really comfortable with and there’s no adjustment period, which is good. He was one of my first pro coaches, so I know him well, his style and everything, so it’s nothing new. It’s good to have him back.”

Arena’s roster features 19 of 26 players from Major League Soccer with the Monday night addition of Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes. There were just 10 MLS players leading into an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Costa Rica on Nov. 15 – eight of whom dressed for the match after Howard got hurt against Mexico.

That sent the Americans to their first 0-2 start in the final round of World Cup qualifying and led to Jurgen Klismnann’s ouster. Arena then returned 10 years after his firing.

“I think Bruce is going to call up the players that give him the best chance to win,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “Regardless of where you play, regardless of what you’ve done, Bruce is going to rely on guys who are going to step on the field in big moments and go for it, be aggressive and fearless and represent him and the team and our country in the best possible way.”

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The Americans might need all the depth they have up front. Forward Jordan Morris didn’t practice again Tuesday while nursing an ankle injury sustained Sunday with the Seattle Sounders. He did gym work and rehabbed the ankle after spending Monday receiving treatment at the team hotel. His status for Wednesday’s practice remained unclear.

“Anybody that’s going to help the team, it doesn’t matter where you play,” Beasley said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s more MLS, more Europe, more Mexico, more Scandinavia, it doesn’t matter. As long as you know what it’s about to play for this team and play for this country you’re going to be a part of it, so it’s good to have that.”

Beasley and Dempsey are 34. Howard, the starting goalkeeper the past two World Cups, turned 38 this month. There’s a comfort level for the three with their new, and old, coach, Arena.

“They’re old, man, they’re some old cats,” Altidore said. “That’s a long time ago. Guys that we still need, guys with a lot of quality.”

“They’re not bad players,” Arena said when asked about his 30-somethings still playing for him on the big stage more than a decade later.

Dempsey and Howard are healthy again at last.

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Howard had surgery on his right thigh in November after getting hurt in a World Cup qualifying loss to Mexico and being replaced in the 40th minute. Dempsey had been out because of an irregular heartbeat.

“Experience counts for a lot in games like this, guys who understand what these games and what these moments are all about,” Bradley said. “In both their cases, their experience and their track record speaks for itself, guys who have been on the field for us on so many big days, on so many important days. For me, personally, I couldn’t be happier to have them both back and in the team and we’re going to rely on them in a big way on Friday night.”

Howard likes the mix of players brought in by Arena.

“I think that’s probably a testament to some of our longevity,” Howard said. “It’s good to have some pieces in play that have been there who understand the manager. There are a lot of young kids, too.”

NOTES: Altidore downplayed a Twitter back-and-forth with teammate Alejandro Bedoya on March 11. Bedoya spoke after Altidore drew a foul during Toronto FC’s 2-2 draw with Philadelphia. “Knowing Jozy, he tends to go down easy in the box, so let’s just leave it at that.” Altidore took to Twitter: “Nice comment pal (at)AleBedoya17. You have a lot to say but never to anyones face. Im surprised.. but I shouldn’t be.” The matter seems put to rest. “It’s all jokes, man,” Altidore told The Associated Press. “It’s nothing crazy. I’ve known Bedoya a long time. It’s all good.”