BEASLEY HOPEFUL FOR WORLD CUP TICKET
Rangers midfielder DaMarcus Beasley is optimistic that a late season push will help him land a spot on US national team coach Bob Bradley's 23 man roster for next month's World Cup.
Beasley was recalled by Bradley for the March 3rd international friendly versus Holland in what was the winger's first national team match since last summer's Confederations Cup.
The Indiana native provided the assist in the US' lone goal against the Dutch and reminded fans why he is still in the USMNT mix.
Competition remains fierce for the final few spots heading into this month's pre-selection camp and the American veteran says that he knows he still has work to do to land a spot on Bradley's final roster.
"I haven't spoken with Bob since the Holland match but what he told me then was to just keep going and doing what I do," Beasley recently told YA. "I want to make it hard for him to not pick me. It's been an up and down year for me and I haven't played as much as I'd like, but I still hope I can make the team.
"There are about 15 or 16 players who are definitely going so I'm hoping to grab one of those last spots. I've never been in this position before but I'm optimistic. I know I can help the team and not only do I want to push for a spot on the roster but I also want to push other guys and be a starter."
Should the Fort Wayne, Indiana native achieve his goal, he will join a select group of players who have competed in three World Cups.
The distinction of representing his country on three different occasions in the world's most reknowned tournament is not lost on Beasley who savors every minute that he gets to wear a USMNT jersey.
"It would mean a lot to make my third World Cup team," Beasley explained. "I'm always honored any time I can play with the national team. I got my 90th cap playing against Holland and that was special. I love playing at the highest level.
The attacker also divulges that he feels a surge of emotions each time he hears Francis Scott Key's masterpiece playing on stadium speakers before a national team match.
"I still get butterflies in my stomach whenever I hear the national anthem," he added. "It's kind of surreal and hard to explain… When you start playing soccer, you don't really think about all the stuff you accomplish, but it's really not until when you look back on your career that you fully realize that you achieved something great."
While the road to South Africa continues to be a roller-coaster for Beasley, his time with Rangers has followed a similar path as his three injury-riddled years with the Glasgow club are coming to a close.
The 27 year old has gone through spurts of playing in consecutive matches to not even landing on the gameday roster, making it difficult to achieve consistency in his game, yet he stresses that he continues to train hard even with just one match left in the Scottish Premier League season.
"I've been injury-free lately but was a little sick with a virus and bronchitis," noted Beasley. "Any minutes are good before the World Cup so that's my focus. I'm just putting my head down and training hard. I don't know why I haven't been playing lately but going to the coach and asking why isn't my style. I believe in myself and I try to let my [soccer] do the talking."
With his three year contract expiring after Sunday's finale versus Motherwell, the former PSV Eindhoven man will be faced with an offseason of uncertainty in regards to his club future.
Playing time is paramount in Beasley's mind but the thought of departing Rangers and Glasgow would be hard and it leaves him with mixed emotions about his immediate playing future.
"I haven't really thought of where I might go play, but I know that I want to stay in Europe and playing time is the main thing," he stated. "Rangers haven't spoken to me about coming back so I guess you can put two and two together and make your own conclusions… but never say never. I really do love the club and Glasgow feels like home. I've made a lot of friends here and no matter what happens, it will always be a place I'll come back to."
His affinity for Rangers and Glasgow is so strong that Beasley indicated that he would consider taking a pay cut to return playing for the Light Blues.
"I would consider [a pay cut] so I wouldn't count that out," Beasley said of a new Rangers contract. "I have a perfect situation here from a life standpoint and I love playing for a great club like Rangers."
Should the ex-Chicago Fire player move on from playing in Scotland, he will have a slew of good memories to take with him despite missing large chunks of three seasons.
One of the moments that stands out most for Beasley was his timely goal for Rangers in the 2008 Scottish Cup final when the Light Blues took down upstarts Queen of the South to capture the hardware.
"I have a lot of good memories of playing here," he affirmed. "Scoring in the Cup final after being out five to six months with an injury was a highlight. Also winning two championships was great but those feel a little different because I didn't contribute as much so that makes a difference for sure."
While turnover among head coaches is an affliction most clubs in Scotland deal with on a constant basis, Rangers head man Walter Smith has been at the helm of the club ever since Beasley arrived.
All Smith has done in his career is win nine league championships and ten cup competitions, numbers that should rank him as one of Europe's best, yet when the topic of great soccer coaches surfaces, Smith's name does not come to the forefront which Beasley thinks is unfair to his current boss.
"I think Walter is up there with coaches like Guus Hiddink who was my coach at PSV," he said. "People look at trophies as signs of success and Walter's got a lot! He's done great and he gets the best out of us. Guys want to work for him."
Not only is Beasley working hard on the field to contribute to Rangers and the USMNT, he is also very busy with his off-the-field ventures after introducing his own jewelry collection late last year.
Starting his own venture has provided a nice distraction from soccer for Beasley who says that he is beginning to build his business network in the United Kingdom.
"Things are going good with the collection," he said of the aptly-named DaMarcus Beasley Collection. "We are in meetings to get the collection into stores in the UK so we just have to put the pen to paper to get that done. It's a good stress and nice break from soccer. I'm enjoying making new business connections and meeting new people and hearing all the feedback on the collection."
For anyone, it takes courage and a sense of belief to start of a business, especially in the light of an economic downturn.
The self-confidence and lack of temerity Beasley possesses goes back to a simple mantra that he says he abides by whether in the board room or on the soccer field
"I've always believed that you have to reach for the stars. It's such a simple thing but it's so true," he concluded. "You've got to have it in you and have the desire to achieve what you want to achieve in whatever field. I've always been confident in my ability to succeed in soccer and anything else as long as I get the chance."
Beasley will hope to see time in Rangers' season finale on Sunday versus Motherwell before awaiting his status of Bradley's 30 man pre-selection roster which will be released on Tuesday.