There are reports that suggest DaMarcus Beasley is seriously considering a move to Pachuca as he is on trial with the club.
If he signs and gains playing time, the 29-year-old could revive his fading United States international career as he joins one of Mexico’s top division powerhouses. That should be good news right?
For Major League Soccer, the move could represent a major step backwards and a blow to its creditability.
After all, Beasley is a homegrown star who rose to stardom as a player for the Chicago Fire. His breakneck pace and slashing runs were so fantastic that he earned the nickname, Run D.M.B.
Capitalizing on his MLS form, he and Landon Donovan were heralded as the future of U.S. soccer as both players had magnificent performances for the Stars and Stripes, leading the team to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, the deepest the team has been in the modern era of the tournament.
After years of both highs and lows in Europe, home is where Beasley should return.
If Major League Soccer's goal is to develop American talent and attract U.S. soccer fans, then Beasley shouldn’t have any reservations about returning to the league. Last year, during the All Star game, Commissioner Don Garber stressed that his biggest objective is to retain and attract American talent. He claimed that if MLS keeps its star American players, the league will grow. To his credit, he has been proven right.
The return of U.S. internationals Charlie Davies and Benny Feilhaber have been significant additions to MLS and dramatically turned around the fortunes of two disappointing franchises in D.C. United and New England Revolution. United was the league’s worst team and the Revs were not too far away in that respect. Now, both are fighting for playoffs. With MLS still employing its controversial playoff system, either could potentially win the MLS Cup if it enters the elimination stages on a hot streak.
Despite Beasley’s decline due to injuries and age, neither Davies nor Feilhaber have his credentials.
Beasley was a significant player for PSV and Rangers, two top teams in their respective countries. Beasley helped both teams to championships in the Dutch and Scottish leagues respectively. He is still the only American player to reach the semifinals in the UEFA Champions League, and in that amazing run he lead the team in scoring with four goals.
On the U.S. national scene, he has made 93 appearances and scored 17 goals while travelling with the Stars and Stripes for three World Cups.
Even if Beasley was only 60 percent of the player he was on those teams, his on-the-field intelligence would be a valued asset for teams that are trying to compete for titles and develop young talent.
As with most issues, money appears to be the reason why Beasley will most likely be deterred from returning to his domestic league. The Washington Post speculated that he currently makes $500,000 with German Bundesliga side Hannover and that he would most likely be open to taking a 10- to 15-percent pay cut from that number. Unfortunately, unless a club would be willing to sign Beasley as a designated player, he would have to settle for a salary that is similar to Feilhaber, who, according to the same article, makes half of Beasley’s current wages.
Yet, in a league that employs Vancouver striker Eric Hassali as one of its DPs, surely there should be room to bring back one of the league’s most memorable stars. If not, it is sad to believe that MLS prioritizes giving fading foreign stars a chance over giving an opportunity to restore a career of someone who was developed in the league.
Just food for thought.
Alex Labidou is the Deputy Editor of Goal.com USA. Agree or disagree with the story above? Give him a shout @sportslab on twitter.
Visit the U.S. national team page on Goal.com for more and join Goal.com USA's Facebook fan page!