He’s worn the U.S. national team shirt at four World Cups—and now DaMarcus Beasley will be sporting Dynamo orange.
The club made a major midseason splash on Wednesday with the news that Beasley, one of the top American players of his generation and the only man to play for the U.S. in four World Cups, is joining Houston. “I’ve always said one day I might come back to MLS and today is that day,” he told HoustonDynamo.com.
Beasley played every minute of all four U.S. matches in Brazil and has 120 caps and seven goals for his country. He is in the USMNT top five all-time in appearances, and the top ten in goals and assists, and led the team with 17 appearances under Jurgen Klinsmann last year, captaining the side during their successful Gold Cup campaign.
The speedy 32-year-old left-sided player also brings immense top-level club experience to Houston. He has made more appearances and scored more goals in the UEFA Champions League than any other U.S. national team player. Beasley said he is eager to get started in Texas and he already knows Brad Davis and Ricardo Clark from their time together with the U.S.
“In the past, Brad and Rico have always said good things about Houston and the team and definitely the fans,” Beasley said. “I felt that this was a good opportunity for me, for my family. I’m really excited to be joining Houston. They showed a lot of interest in me over the past couple of weeks and for a player it was great to feel wanted by a team. Hopefully it all works out on the field and we can do some special things together.”
Beasley arrives in Houston on Thursday morning. It is uncertain whether he will make his Dynamo debut on Saturday night when the club host Aston Villa in the Charities Cup (8 p.m. CT; TICKETS), but he is expected to play the following week when D.C. United visit BBVA Compass Stadium with MLS points at stake.
“He’s a good player, it’s really that simple. He’s a good player that can make the team better,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told HoustonDynamo.com. “That seems almost obvious but that’s where the conversation started, when the opportunity was presented and he was available, we thought, could he help us? And the answer was yes. He obviously has a great résumé with all the wonderful clubs he’s played at around the world.”
The Fort Wayne, Indiana native has won trophies in multiple countries. He signed an MLS contract in 1999, before his 17th birthday, and was allocated to the Los Angeles Galaxy. He made his MLS bow the following year for the Chicago Fire and moved to Europe in 2004 when Dutch side PSV Eindhoven bought him as a replacement for Netherlands star Arjen Robben. The following year he appeared in the Champions League semifinals with PSV.
Beasley spent the 2006-07 season on loan at English Premier League club Manchester City, then signed for Scottish giants Rangers in the summer of 2007. After three years in Glasgow, Beasley moved on to German side Hannover, and was most recently in Mexico with Puebla.
After making his name as a nimble winger dubbed “jitterbug” who rose to international prominence in the U.S. side that reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, Beasley’s career was reinvigorated by his move to Liga MX and a positional switch to left back.
“I kept confidence in myself knowing that if I got another chance I could do something special and try obviously to get on the national team. I knew I could still play at that level. In Mexico it went well, obviously, but I’ve always kept my head down and worked hard and always had that confidence in myself that if I got another chance I would definitely make a run at it,” he said.
Beasley’s determined attitude looks to be a perfect fit with the Dynamo’s ethos. “We’ve all see how versatile he is, how effective he is whether playing midfield or at the back. Brings a good amount of experience, he’s quick, great player, has a great reputation and for good reason and I think for us to be able to acquire a player like him is a big bonus for the team,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear told HoustonDynamo.com.
“I spoke to him a little bit today and he says he’s ready to get here, get to know the guys and get going. The World Cup was a great event for him and obviously he’s a big part of the success and I’m sure he’s motivated for that … he wants to come home and play well. He’s always been a very driven player which is one of the reasons why we went after him.”
In order to position themselves to sign Beasley, the Dynamo acquired the number one spot in the MLS allocation order and allocation money from Toronto FC in exchange for Warren Creavalle and the Dynamo’s 14th-place order ranking. The versatile 23-year-old leaves Houston after making 60 MLS regular-season and postseason appearances over three seasons. One of his biggest moments came against Toronto, when he scored a stoppage-time equalizer at BMO Field in April last year.
“I think the players will welcome the move in the locker room although we’re losing a very good and popular player with Warren, sometimes you have to give up something you don’t want to in order to get something and that was the case here. I think DaMarcus Beasley coming into our locker room is a very positive thing for us,” said Kinnear. “From his first World Cup to his last one and in-between, he’s always played well on the big stage. I think that says a lot about a player.”
Beasley, who was out of contract at Puebla, is a Designated Player. Houston were made aware of his desire to return to MLS in early July. “We threw our hat into the ring right away, said we were interested, started dealing with his agent and I think we played a fairly vital role in helping a deal get reached between MLS and DaMarcus. Once a deal was reached the challenge became: how do we try to get him to Houston, seeing as there’s a process?” Canetti said.
With the Dynamo currently four points off the Eastern Conference playoff pace, his arrival should be a timely boost—and the club is still looking at ways to enhance the roster. “We want to try to make a run this season, we’re not satisfied with not making the playoffs whatsoever,” said Canetti. “So we’re trying to make moves that will improve us this year but we’re not doing anything that would negatively impact our future. We think DaMarcus is a guy that can help us now and also in the next few years to come.”
Beasley may not yet have met most of his new teammates, but he already has a firm target in mind. ”I don’t know most of the guys on the team, but I know they’re all winners and they want to get to the playoffs. That’s what we’re going to push for,” he said. “I’m really excited to get started.”
Tom Dart is a contributing writer to HoustonDynamo.com and HoustonDashSoccer.com. Former editor and reporter for The Times of London and reporter for SI.com, Dart currently freelances for The Guardian.