Eight months to the day after announcing his retirement from the U.S. Men’s National Team, DaMarcus Beasley strolled back into camp as an addition to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster on Wednesday night.
As he joined up with his teammates in Baltimore, he did so with out-of-date National Team gear – a product of his nine-month international absence.
“I had to knock some dust off some of my old U.S. stuff,” Beasley joked. “Packing my bag for camp, I got the butterflies again.”
After appearing in 121 matches and four FIFA World Cups for the USA, Beasley originally chose to retire from the international game to spend more time with his family and focus on his club career with the Houston Dynamo. It was a decision he says U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann fully respected.
But as preparations for this summer’s Gold Cup ramped up, Klinsmann made the approach last month during the team’s European friendlies to see if the National Team veteran would be interested in the team’s push for automatic qualification to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
“I was in Houston sleeping when he called and left a message on my phone,” said Beasley. “In the message he said, I’m thinking about having you for the Gold Cup. Think about it, let me know how you feel and give me a call in the next day or two.”
Beasley was surprised and humbled to get the call but, “It wasn’t easy. The main thing was me spending more time with my family, but when your National Team calls, you can’t turn that down. He didn’t have to keep asking me.
“Jurgen knew if he needed me, I was available,” Beasley said.
“Having DaMarcus come into the team is huge,” Klinsmann said earlier this week. “Because of his character, his giving nature, the spirit he brings, but also the high quality he brings. He brings a lot of experience into this group, and he’s hungry -- he’s still as hungry as day one in his career. That speaks for us having him back in the group and now it gives us a couple of different options on how to put pieces together.
A veteran of more than 300 professional matches in six top flight leagues in Europe and North America, Beasley captained the side to the 2013 Gold Cup and has the opportunity to become the first player to win the tournament on five occasions.
In the end, that opportunity to lift a trophy again played a key role in his decision to return.
“It’s one thing to be called in for a friendly game, but to have a chance to win something, to be a champion, it’s a great feeling. The Gold Cup is a great tournament, all the teams are so much better than 2000. It’s a hard tournament to win, not like it was before. I want to challenge myself, like I always have my whole career. This is another challenge for me, another challenge to win another trophy. Putting back on the red, white and blue shirt is a great feeling.”
And as Beasley searches for his 122nd international appearance in the team’s Gold Cup quarterfinal Saturday against Cuba in Baltimore, he’ll do so in front of about 30 members of the “Beasley clan”.
“I’m looking forward to that. Most of my family, except for my mom and dad, all live in the Washington D.C. area. They’re all coming. My mom and dad are flying in from Indiana as well. They’ve always supported me throughout my career, so it’s great to have them here rooting me on and hopefully it’ll be my first game back.”