KELLY: Who is DaMarcus Beasley? A futbol legend

KELLY: Who is DaMarcus Beasley? A futbol legend
USMNT-alum DaMarcus Beasley trains with Houston Dynamo at Kino Sports Complex. (Cover photo courtesy: AP)
USMNT-alum DaMarcus Beasley trains with Houston Dynamo at Kino Sports Complex. (Cover photo courtesy: AP)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - I'm not the biggest futbol fan.

I've come to have a working knowledge of the sport since FC Tucson arrived in town three summers ago and lit a fire under Tucson with their Premier Development League schedule of games and the birth and explosion of Major League Soccer's winter presence here in the Old Pueblo.

I definitely enjoy and appreciate the beautiful game more now than I did back when I started in TV in the summer of 2011.

But I have to admit my embarrassment this week when I was asked to do a story on Damarcus Beasley.

I had no idea who Damarcus Beasley was. Then I started researching him and I learned that he's the only American to side four times on the U.S. Men's National Soccer team at the World Cup level.

Not to mention he's one the most decorated American players to ever compete in futbol-crazy Europe. No one born from the United States has ever scored more goals in the famed UEFA Champions League than Beasley and he's was the first American to ever play in a Champions semifinal match.

I was even more astonished that I had followed this summer's World Cup hysteria and still, knowledge of Beasley seemed to slip right past my radar.

Like most casual to low-level soccer fans I'd heard of names like Dempsey, Donovan, Wondolowski, Bradley and Howard. But Beasley. Who?

Damarcus Beasley has been competing for the United States since 1999. That's 16 years; his entire professional career.

It's been a somewhat up and down run on the pitch for the Fort Wayne Indiana-native, but one that has not only seen him play in four World Cups, but on four U.S. Gold Cup championship sides.

Sadly I now know who DaMarcus Beasley is and his international career is over. The 32-year old retired from the U.S. National team in December after 121 appearances and 17 goals.

Beasley said his most memorable game was his first World Cup match in June 2002, the United States stunning 3-2 opening win over Portugal.

He will play his first full season in the MLS this year since 2004 when he suits up as a wing-back for the Houston Dynamo. He previously made 98 appearances with the Chicago Fire (2000-2004) and told me all that's left for him to accomplish in his career is to win an MLS Cup.

It wasn't a pleasure to meet Beasley at the Kino Sports Complex on Friday. It was an honor. He's an American futbol legend and should be celebrated as such.

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