ORLANDO, Fla. — As he prepared to be honored for his 126 caps with the United States men’s national team, DaMarcus Beasley said he felt at peace.
“No regrets, no second thoughts,” he said. “It really goes quickly. You look back at my whole career and it’s like, where’d it go? It makes you really appreciate the game.”
The former defender was recognized ahead of the team’s revenge match against Canada at Exploria Stadium on Friday, presented with a jersey and a video of his highlights with the team.
The crowd assembled in the stands for the moment was small — the match drew an announced crowd of 13,103 — but a group close to Beasley was in attendance.
Almost every member of the U-17 World Cup squad from 1999 watched Friday’s game from Exploria Stadium as the group celebrated their 20-year reunion. Many members of that team — such as Beasley, Kyle Beckerman and Landon Donovan, who was not at the game — went on to become household names for the United States.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) November 16, 2019
As Beasley watched the first game of his retirement with his old teammates, the moment was somewhat symbolic. He referred to this year’s national team as “new,” led by a new coach at the helm and headlined by a group of prospects who are 21 or younger.
This season, Beasley closed his career along with other long-time greats like Tim Howard. Now, as he looks at the future of the men’s national team, he sees a new wave of talent similar to the one that he was a part of back in 1999.
“It feels great,” Beasley said. “We all know it: the youth are the future. When myself, Landon, Tim were coming up, we were the future. Now it’s a new crop.”
For the first three weeks of his retirement, Beasley was excited by his newly relaxed schedule — waking up to take his daughter to school instead of to train, not having to painstakingly track his diet. But the boredom quickly began to sink in.
Now Beasley is looking for a new challenge on the opposite side of the ball. He’s hoping to build a career in the business or coaching side of soccer, learning aspects of the game that players rarely touch.
“Whenever I speak about it, I’m excited,” Beasley said. “I want to be excited about something that I’m doing. I don’t want to do it just to do it. I’m ready to get started. I want to get into something.”
The U.S. men’s national team will close the first stage of the Nations League tournament with a match against Cuba in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday.