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USA veteran DaMarcus Beasley reinvents himself

DaMarcus Beasley of the United States controls the

DaMarcus Beasley of the United States controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between the United States and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Credit: Getty Images / Adam Pretty

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Playing against Ghana on June 16, DaMarcus Beasley made history by becoming the first United States player to participate in four World Cups.

After a rather disappointing 2006 World Cup, the 32-year-old fell off the international soccer map until he made a position change from midfield to left back. That helped to resurrect his USA career four years ago.

Beasley, who has 119 international appearances, said that reaching that milestone in the win over Ghana was not an emotional moment. But goalkeeper Tim Howard praised his teammate for his perseverance.

"I'm proud of him only because when he started out as a kid, he was an electric winger," Howard said Saturday, adding that Beasley stumbled, reinvented himself and came back stronger in his new role. "At the beginning he wasn't overjoyed by but once he grasped it, he's been brilliant."

One secret to Beasley's longevity? He rarely gets rattled during difficult times.

"You can't really teach that," Beasley said during his first interview with the media here. "That's always been inside me whenever I played. I like the lights. I like playing in front of 80,000 people. It takes out the nerves, playing in World Cups or in the Champions League.

"It's fun for me to play. Once you get the first touch on the ball, it's like playing in any other game. You forget about the World Cup, you forget about the fans. You just go out there and play."

The Americans face Belgium in the knockout stage in Salvador on Tuesday. They must improve on an attack that struggled to create chances in their 1-0 loss to Germany,

"We know the Germany game wasn't our best as far as keeping the ball and making them make mistakes," Beasley said. "This is a type of game where we have to go out and leave everything on the field."

Notes & quotes: USA's Jozy Altidore trained on his own again, an indication the injured forward isn't likely to start against Belgium. Altidore hasn't played since straining his left hamstring in the opener against Ghana on June 16.

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