Beasley, Jamar 1979–
Jamar Beasley 1979–
Professional soccer player
In 1998 at the age of 18, Jamar Beasley became the youngest player ever signed to Project P-40, a program developed by Major League Soccer (MLS) to put young prospects on a more direct path to the professional leagues. Rather than going through an interim period of playing college soccer, players in the P-40 program develop their soccer skills in a professional environment. Soon after joining the P-40 program, Beasley was signed to the New England Revolution where he has become one of the MLS’s most explosive and exciting young American stars.
Jamar Thomas Beasley has been dribbling down the basketball court or the soccer fieldsince he was six years old. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 11, 1979, he grew into a five-feet, ten-inch, 160-pound star in both sports. In addition, he was the kicker on his South Side High football team in Fort Wayne. He averaged 12 points and five assists as senior point guard on the basketball team. This drew interest from Wake Forest and Valparaiso. But he was also a star forward on the soccer team, scoring 28 goals in his senior year and setting the Indiana state record for career goals with 107. He was named all-state four times. These records brought him a scholarship offer from Georgia Tech.
But when it was time to choose between college soccer and the professional program, Beasley jumped at the chance to join the U-20 (under 20) team of the MLS with Project-40. After a trip with the U-20 national team to Orlando, Florida, in February of 1998, according to Sports Illustrated, he returned home with some exciting news for his father: “Dad, I scored on Campos!” The young man had reason to be excited, for Jorge Campos, of the Chicago Fire, is one of the world’s top goalkeepers. The MLS had also witnessed Beasley’s performance in Orlando. A week later, league commissioner Sunil Gulati offered Beasley an MLS contract with the New England Revolution. However, Beasley had to complete his training with the P-40 before he could play for the professional team full-time. In 1999 he participated in the Youth World Cup soccer games in Nigeria with the U-20 national team. He also played in Portugal for the P-40 side on a five-game tour of that country’s first division reserve teams.
Although Project-40 streamlines a youngster’s entrance into the professional circuit, in the United
Born Jamar Thomas Beasley, October 11, 1979, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Career: Soccer player. Youngest player signed to Project-40; New England Revolution, 1998-01; Chicago Fire, 2001-.
Awards: MLS Player of the Week, June 10, 2000,
Addresses: Chicago Fire, 311 W. Superior, Suite 444, Chicago, IL 60610.
States, it does not offer top salaries at that level, as it does in other countries where soccer is more popular. But Beasley was not concerned with salary at the time. “If I just worry about soccer,” he told Sports Illustrated, “the rest will fall into place.”
And, indeed the rest has fallen into place for the young star forward. Revolution coach Thomas Rongen told Sports Illustrated that Beasley has the “technical ability of a Brazilian player, the speed of an American sprinter, and the mental speed and toughness of a Western European player.” Beasley’s Project-40 coach, Tim Hankinson, called him in Sports Illustrated, “very improvisational in a natural way.” This talent is not something that can be developed through training, Hankinson noted. Beasley’s work ethic is also a fundamental part of his success. During the 1998 off-season, Beasley went to Milan, Italy, to train with that legendary soccer powerhouse.
Beasley scored his first goal for the Revolution on July 21, 1999, against Holland’s legendary player, Ajax. His breakthrough year, however, came in 2000, his third season with New England. The year began with Beasley’s graduation from the P-40 on January 6th. He then played in 19 games, scored three goals, and had three assists. He earned Player of the Week honors in the MLS on June 10th, when he entered the game in the second half against the San Jose Earthquakes. Beasley racked up two goals to lead the Revolution to victory.
On April 10, 2001 Beasley was traded to the Chicago Fire. The trade would allow Beasley to play alongside his younger brother, DaMarcus, a memeber of the Chicago Fire since 2000. Beasley acknowledged that the trade would allow him to spend more time with his family, who live a mere two hours from Chicago.
Although some have criticized Beasley as not being big enough to star in the MLS league, he is confident he can make an impact. And although soccer is so much of his life, he vows that will not forget old friends or college. He plans to attend school during his pro career. He wants everyone to know that he is still, as he told Time for Kids, “the same old Jamar” in spite of his success.
Boston Herald, April 10, 2001.
Sports Illustrated, April 13, 1998.
Time for Kids Magazine, March 13, 1998.
The New England Revolution website, http://www.revolutionsoccer.net
The Chicago Fire website, http://www.chicago-fire.com
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