The former PSV and Rangers player chose the Mexican league over Major League Soccer and nearly brought Eddie Johnson south of the border.
TIJUANA -- It only took an ill-timed slide and just 20 minutes on the Estadio Caliente's artificial turf for DaMarcus Beasley's tendinitis to flare up again. That was a month ago, and thankfully for Club Puebla and Beasley, the injury did not keep the American winger out for long.
Despite the limited appearance in Tijuana last July, Beasley got a good look at Xolos de Tijuana and its American stars, mainly midfielder Joe Corona, who Beasley can now call his teammate after both players were penciled in by Jurgen Klinsmann for Wednesday's friendly against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca.
"He's going to be great [for the U.S.]", Beasley told Goal.com.
Tijuana currently features three American players in its first team, including defenders Edgar Castillo and Greg Garza as well as Corona. Talented youngsters such as Alejandro Guido among others are waiting in the wings for a team that boasts a total of seven American-born players if the reserve team is taken into account.
At Puebla, Beasley was himself trying to add another countryman to the mix, recommending Eddie Johnson to the staff late last year. When it looked like Johnson would sign on for the Mexican side, the team reneged.
"Honestly, I don't know what happened there, I came back from Christmas break and he was already gone," Beasley admitted.
Johnson eventually landed in Seattle, where the former Fulham striker has begun a renaissance catapulting him to this year's MLS All-Star Game, where he turned in a memorable performance.
"He's doing really well, he's a great player and I'm glad that he's found a home," said Beasley.
Beasley himself had a transfer saga to face over the summer, with teams vying for his services but no one suitor pushing hard enough to sign the former Manchester City player. Reports had mostly Mexican teams searching for Beasley's signing, but the media also cited a few MLS teams as well.
"No, I didn't want to go to MLS," Beasley said with a smile. "There were a few teams interested, but nothing happened."
Beasley initially came to Puebla as part of a promising team that featured Colombian striker Duvier Riascos, former Liverpool and Barcelona man Luis Garcia, Mexican international Gonzalo Pineda and others under manager Sergio Bueno.
The talented squad did not translate to the pitch, and Puebla missed out on both the Apertura 2011 and the Clausura 2012 postseason campaigns, finishing only as high as 12th and eight points out of a playoff spot.
With no hint of frustration on his face, and even after the drama-laden season that featured Mexican government officials barging into the team's facilities to repossess items in lieu of tax payment, Beasley was overtly positive about his time in Mexico, going so far as to recommend it as a good destination abroad for his fellow countrymen.
"I encourage more Americans to come to Mexico. I would love that," he said. "It's a good league, with good players. They play football down here."
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