DAMARCUS BEASLEY INTERVIEW
Born in 1982, DaMarcus Beasley is an American soccer star who not only captured the eyes of his nation but also many more. Spending a decade abroad, building his name and showing off his footballing ability and pacey play, we now announce USMNT baller, DaMarcus, as a Concave athlete, who laces up in our VOLT+ boot...
How did you get into football?
It was really my father. I have an older brother and he wanted us to be active, rather than being around the house and breaking things. My family has no history in football, my Dad played American football/basketball but he liked the sport. He gave my brother a ball and he started kicking it around and me being younger I kind of wanted to be like him. It was a God given talent, because as I say we have no history and football wasn’t big back then. We’re talking about the early 80’s when there wasn’t even a league.
Where did you grow up then?
I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Indiana is a basketball state, so anything to do with sport is mostly about basketball. It was difficult finding other kids that wanted to play. Finding leagues to play in as there was only a couple going on at that time. My Dad put my brother and I in those, but the good thing was that I always had a brother who wanted to play football as well. We were always playing 1v1 in the backyard, watching VHS tapes of our favourite players and trying to emulate those.
You came through the IMG academy system, what is this system and how did it help you?
Back then it was called the voluntary sports academy, it was a new U17 national team. A new program that they wanted to try. It was 1999 when there was our U17 championship so in 1997 they brought the idea to us and our parents to move all the kids down to Florida, to the IMG academy. It was a school but you would train every day with your team to try and win the championships in ’99. It played a big part with me going pro at such a young age. When you’re playing against the supposed best U17’s around the world, you spend so much time with the team and you become brothers. It worked and we came 4th in the championships.
Was there anyone around your age at the time that you feel influenced you and helped you progress?
Landon Donovan, he was the first one out of our group to sign professionally, with Bayer Leverkusen. He didn’t stay with the group because obviously, he moved to Germany so he was one the boys looked up to, who became a professional. It pushed us on to get to that level of becoming a professional and most of us did.
Who did you turn professional with first?
I signed for LA Galaxy when I was 16. I was still at high school and I went out there and trained but I still had school back in Florida. SMy parents said I had to finish school before I turned professional, so I did and signed for LA Galaxy full time.
How did you find European football?
I was 21/22 and all I’ve known was America. I went to PSV not knowing anyone or even the language. It was difficult but I had a good support system from my agent and family so it made it easier. The thing that got me through it was playing and winning. I started off pretty well and scored a couple of goals. Any time you go to a new team you need to let the other players know they can trust you, and count on you in the big games, so I think I did that at a pretty early rate.
What is your most memorable goal?
Probably my first UEFA Champions League goal. That’s probably my most memorable one, although I pretty much remember all of them. It was the Champions League, playing at home in the first group game and it was great. We won 1-0 from my goal! It was a great ball from Phillip Cocu, against Rosenborg, and it’s a game I’ll always remember.
Do you have an advice for younger players looking to move to Europe from America?
It would probably be to just have confidence in yourself and never lose confidence in yourself, in your ability and all the hard work you put in to get to that level. Obviously in everyone’s career there’s ups and downs, from a young age, to when you’re older. For young kids coming up, always be confident. Even if you’re told off by coaches or players, always be confident and that’s something you can’t teach. A coach can help but the player has to believe that and believe in themselves to be confident.
Apparently, you like to play a lot of jokes in the dressing room, what is the best prank you’ve managed to pull off?
Let me see… Probably when I was at Rangers, a teammate and I were on an aeroplane and the goalkeeper was sleeping so we filled his shoes with liquid soap and put them back. He put one shoe on and he didn’t find it very funny and had to be calmed down.
How about the best prank you’ve been stung with?
Last year I had this crazy picture of me before the World Cup in 2002. I had a photoshoot with the New York Times and they didn’t come out how they were meant to. It was me laying in a sexy pose, hand on the back of my head… Last year, one of the rookies made 25 shirts of this and gave them to the whole team and I came to training one day and saw everyone wearing it! I was just going to training and I was flabbergasted. It’s on my Instagram if you want to check it out!
Best player you’ve ever played with?
I would say either Phillip Cocu or Marc Van Bommel. Either one of those two. I’ve played with some great players but I think either one of those two. I can’t pick between them, they were very good players!
Who is the best player you’ve played against?
Paolo Maldini from AC Milan. He was older when I played against him, but I played on the right against him in the Champions League and he was always two steps ahead of me. He was definitely my toughest opponent. So intelligent in his positioning and how he played. He wasn’t the fastest but his intelligence of where to be and what to do was phenomenal.
What were your first impressions of Concave and who introduced you to the brand?
Paul Rogers, our goalkeeping coach at Houston Dynamo. He’s from England and was training in them and at the time I didn’t have a contract so I thought I’d try them out. They were comfortable! I’ve tried a couple of different boots, from different brands and never really liked them but ever since I tried the VOLT+ boots I haven’t looked back. I haven’t had any problems with them and I started wearing them back in October 2016 and have worn them ever since.
What are your thoughts on the PowerStrike Technology?
I like a black shoe, I think times are changing and I’m from the old school. I like the fact that the boots that first came out for Concave were predominantly black. I like the idea of the black shoe and that drew me to Concave at first glance. The technology part of it and how the shoe is made is great. I’ve not had anything bad to say about the shoes since I’ve started wearing them. This shoe is different and I think you’ll see a lot of people in Concave boots soon.
What was the reaction of the players in the dressing room?
It was great! Everybody was asking where I got them from and they didn’t know much about them but now that I’ve been wearing them a while the interest is still there. They are asking about Concave and understand more about the boots now. In America, it’s dominated by Nike and adidas but now that Concave are involved, I think Concave will be competing with them but will still be different to the big names.
What do you get up to outside of football?
I’m really a quiet kind of guy and I’m a father so I spent most of my time with my daughter. She likes football too so we go to play and she goes to school and stuff. I’m more of a movie kind of guy. Every time there’s a new movie out I’m pretty much on it. I like to cook! Anything that kind of involves being indoors. It’s cool to be out and stuff but cooking and spending time with my daughter is probably my kind of day.
Tell us more about your football academy?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I wanted to build one in Indiana. Me and my partner wanted to give people more opportunities to get into football. Football has grown massively in America and the opportunities have risen but we want to push it further and see America grow. I wanted to do my part for my hometown and I’m a football fan. I want my country to do well and I want to sit on the sofa when I’m retired and hopefully watch my country win the world cup. I’m serious about it and I’m not one to just put my name to something. I’m actively involved and there, with the kids, trying to make it grow.
What do you plan on doing when you hang up your boots?
I’ll have more time to be involved with my school and that’s a top priority. I have a passion for cooking and I want to go to cooking classes and become a better cook than I am now. Those are the things I’m going to do when I retire from football. I also have the DaMarcus jewellery collection, so I’ll be hoping to put more time into that when I finish football