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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DaMarcus Beasley, 1 of the Best Players in USMNT History, Retires From International Play

DaMarcus Beasley quietly retired this afternoon from the U.S. men's national team in his typical understated fashion: he let fans know about it by posting a very heartfelt message on his Instagram page. He was the first American to play in four World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) and I think the most impressive part of his 121 CAPs (5th all-time) including 11 in the World Cup (2nd all-time) is that he successfully reinvented himself from an outside midfielder to a fullback in his last few years which is almost unheard of (at least going smoothly).

At age 32, Beasley kept himself in great shape since he started in all four World Cup matches for the U.S. last summer in Brazil. During his 14-year career (he debuted in 2001), he won four Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007, 2013). Since they are from the same generation and ironically are retiring at the same time, it's hard not to compare him a little bit with Landon Donovan. While the latter always got the lion's share of the attention for his goal-scoring and flashy moves, you could argue that Beasley was more consistent throughout his national team duties. What's more, he outlasted Donovan on the U.S. which has to mean something.

Finally, while Donovan mostly failed in his first few business trips to Europe, Beasley became one of the best American exports we've ever seen. He was the first American to score goals for two different clubs in the Champions League (Rangers, PSV Eindhoven) and he holds the USMNT record for Champions League appearances (22). He won two Dutch League championships at PSV and two Scottish titles at Rangers. The guy is a winner and that all-important trait seemed to follow him wherever he went.

He had two stints in MLS: with Chicago and Houston. Beasley is pretty tiny and he was never super skilled but he still put up decent goal (17) and assist (13) totals for the U.S. More importantly, he was extremely low-key and never brought the drama or unnecessary attention upon himself (ahem Landon). He is going to remain with the Dynamo but it will be weird not to see him in a U.S. uniform anymore. Just writing this and thinking about his career made me realize that Beasley was one of my all-time favorite U.S. players. What's not to like about him?