June 24, 2014
By Michael Lewis
AND NOW A FEW WORDS FROM BEASLEY
About his 4th World Cup, looking back and forwrd, through U.S. Soccer
Big Apple Soccer Editor
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- For the first time during the World Cup, U.S. right back DaMarcus Beasley communicated with the U.S. media on Tuesday.
Well, sort of.
In an interview done prior to Sunday's Portugal game, which was released by U.S. Soccer, the first American player to perform in four World Cups talked about his longevity, looking at past World Cups and looking forward as well.
Despite several requests, the 32-year-old Beasley has refused to speak to the media. When he walks through the mixed zone after games, Beasley has his earplugs on, listening most likely to music.
When he played against Ghana, Beasley broke some virgin ground as a four-timer in the World Cup. He also performed at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 competitions.
To Beasley, it was no big deal.
“It's been great, but I don't really look at it as that," he said in the quote sheet. "I just look at it as another opportunity to push our country to another level. I'm not so much into individual accomplishments. This is just another opportunity for Americans to show how far we've come from 2010.”
He added: "Every World Cup is different. But at the same time, it's been great to be a part of every single one. There's one thing about U.S. teams: we never give up. We always fight, we have a great spirit among our teams, we're all great friends, and I think that bodes well on the field as well. That part of it never fails."
The Americans reached the second round in South Africa four years ago. This time they are trying to advance from Group G, aka the Group of Death. They can if they draw or defeat Germany in Recife on Thursday.
As the most experienced World Cupper on the team -- Beasley has performed in nine games across four World Cups -- he has become "the grandfather of the team." As he has aged, Beasley's approach to the game has changed.
“Obviously, you look at the game differently," he said. "Mentally you have to be prepared, because physically when you're 20 you can go run around and be fine and then go play another game the next day. The mentality part of it is what you learn when you get older, concentrating for 90 minutes -- not 70, not 60. Being older, I've tried to improve that part of my game. I want to make sure I'm mentally in the game 90 minutes and not 70 or 75.”
Having played internationally for more than a decade, Beasley has seen the USA make some great leaps and bounds.
"We're moving in the right direction, 100 percent," he said. "With the players that are coming in, a lot of young players, I think we have the biggest talent pool that we've had in a long time. It shows that the youth development in our country is starting to produce good young players. That's what you need. You need good young players to come up and push guys like me, guys like Tim Howard, guys like Clint Dempsey, for a spot. We've got three guys that are 20-years-old on this roster, so that speaks well for our team.”
The most difficult World Cup match he has played in?
That was easy -- vs. the host country in Korea in 2002.
"The whole stadium was red," Beasley said. "If I was talking to you across a table like this, we couldn't hear each other, it was so loud. It was buzzing. I think anybody would say that anytime you play the host country of the World Cup, it's going to be amazing. So that was a very memorable game, and a tough game to play against them. You couldn't hear anything. They had a track at the stadium and you still couldn't hear anything.”