Monday, May 01, 2006

Beasley experiences racism and other European notions

Europe has turned DaMarcus Beasley into what Bruce Arena calls a "real soccer player", but it has also showed him the difference between the US and European versions of the sport.

"When I got here, people would do the monkey noises and chants and stuff like that," he said. "I just kind of laugh it off."

Although Beasley (R) helped PSV win the Dutch Eredivisie title for the second-straight year, a Round of 16 Champions League exit against Lyon left the demanding Eindhoven fans wanting more. (PHILIPPE MERLE/Stringer / Getty Images)

For him, racism is not some far-off concept.

"I take most of the free kicks and corner kicks," Beasley said, "so I'm in the corner and I can hear it - you know, stuff."

But it's not just racism that DaMarcus gets to experience, he also gets to hear about his fellow players take on America, or at least the current president.

"Even my teammates give me a little stick for it. They don't like (President) Bush at all," he said. "I don't really get any anti-Americanism, but they kind of say, 'Yeah, we don't like Americans."'

When he asked them why, they tell him: "Oh, because of Bush."

"It's very ignorant," Beasley said, "but sometimes it's kind of funny."

Still, he does point out that all the pressure that European fans place on their teams forces players to better their game. "We can't lose. That's the pressure that our fans put on us and our club puts on us," Beasley said. "In MLS, yeah, you lose a game, you go to the next week and try to win. You lose that one, yeah, OK, you try the next one. People think you have a good season just if you make the playoffs. ... That would not be considered a good season at PSV or any top club in Europe."

This improvement has lead Beasley to become a true leader on the US squad. As Landon Donovan puts it, "When he comes into camp now, he's more vocal, he's more of a leader, he's more demanding, he's more aggressive."

He has also earned a nickname from Arena, Gumby.

Beasley will be on the roster come tomorrow and he will be a key player in the US attack in Germany. It is true that he has not been a full form for the last few months, so he will need to get over whatever obstacle is in his path. If he can regain his abilities, he will again be a standout for his country.


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