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Veteran US defender DaMarcus Beasley earns spot on fourth World Cup roster, going to Brazil

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STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's raucous marching band blaring behind him outside the stadium, DaMarcus Beasley sat in a golf cart hydrating after another long day of World Cup training.

And what a day for the veteran U.S. defender. When seven other American players were cut Thursday, Beasley made the roster for a fourth World Cup.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann surprised his players with the timing of his announcement. Beasley could become the first American to play in four World Cups. While midfielder Claudio Reyna and goalkeeper Kasey Keller made four rosters, Reyna played in only three tournament and Keller two.

"If you have that will and desire and that confidence in yourself that you belong in this group of players, that's half the battle," Beasley said. "The other half is actually going out and doing it."

He would be in rare company if he plays one of the Americans' first-round games against Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Only about two dozen men's players have seen the field in four or more World Cups.

Beasley, who turns 32 Saturday, has shifted from midfield to left back with the national team and is part of a relatively inexperienced defence. For the first time since 1990, the U.S. heads to the tournament with no centre backs with World Cup experience.

"You take the game in a different light. Now that I'm 31, I wish I would have known what I know now when I was 20. It would have made things a lot easier. But, at the same time, that's what you do when you're 20 — 20, you just want to run around and play and you don't care what happens," Beasley said. "Now, you look at the game in a different way. I'm still enjoying the game. For me, just being confident in your ability as well. If you're confident in yourself, no one can teach that. Klinsmann can't teach that, the Bruce Arenas, the Bob Bradleys, no one can teach that confidence that you instil in yourself."

Yet Beasley is too busy to contemplate his place in the history of U.S. soccer. That reflection, he promises, will come one day during retirement.

For now, Beasley is eager to prove he should be starting for the June 16 opener against Ghana in Natal. He started five of the six U.S. matches during last summer's run to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, also serving as captain.

Beasley is among five players on the roster with World Cup experience — the fewest for the Americans since they returned to soccer's showcase in 1990 after a 40-year absence. Landon Donovan would have joined him, but he was among those cut. That was a tough one for Beasley, who called Donovan "my brother."

Beasley plays for Puebla and is the only player from a Mexican club. Klinsmann bypassed Puebla teammate Michael Orozco, Tijuana's Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona, and Tigres' Jose Torres.

Midfielder Earnie Stewart helped Beasley when he made his World Cup debut in 2002, a stunning 3-2 upset of Portugal in Suwon, South Korea. Beasley started that game in the midfield.

"To be honest I was nervous the day of the game, but once we got to the locker room I was fine," Beasley said. "Once I spoke to Earnie and he gave me a lot of words of encouragment and obviously having my boy Landon by my side, it made me calm down and just play. That's what you're going to see in this World Cup, the guys who haven't played a World Cup, it doesn't really matter. They're going to show it and come out and make us have a great World Cup."

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