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Jamar Beasley doesn't have long until his Syracuse Silver Knights begin the 2013 season in the Major Indoor Soccer League. The season opener is three weeks away, but Beasley has something just as important in his soccer world in the immediate future.
This season Beasley became an assistant coach with the Bishop Luers boys soccer team, and he'll be on the sideline helping the Class A No. 2 Knights attempt to make their first state championship game since 1995. Bishop Luers (17-3) plays No. 9 Argos (18-3) at 10 a.m. at LaVille in the first round of semistate Saturday.
“I've just been helping the kids from a distance before, and they asked me if I wanted to come in and help with the coaching staff, and that's something I wanted to do in my career anyway and it was the right thing to do,” Beasley said. “I'm just all about helping the kids and you know, working with the clubs in the Fort Wayne area, even the
cities I do play in, I'm just trying to keep the kids in the right direction.”
The South Side graduate has plenty of experience and knowledge to impart to the Knights players. Beasley has been playing professionally since 1998, when he signed a contract with the New England Revolution, which at the time made him the youngest player to ever sign a Major League Soccer contract.
He's brought these skills to the Knights, helping them out with technical skills, formations and just general pointers to improve.
“Speed of play, he's big on speed and what you are supposed to be doing,” Bishop Luers head coach John Myers said. “He can key on a player, go over and talk to them, give them a couple points on what they should be doing better. The players are right keyed in on what they should be doing and they listen to him.”
The kids' appreciation of Beasley stems from knowing he brings a background of playing all over the United States and world. Senior Seth Caldwell, who scored two goals in Luers 3-2 regional win over No. 8 Blackhawk Christian, said there is a definite level of respect for what Beasley brings to their program.
The respect also stems from Beasley's work ethic. Myers said Beasley still occasionally “puts on his boots” and plays with the kids, and that he's still got the abilities to show them what it takes to play at that level.
“With as experienced as I am, and you know, playing at a high level, that's just something I want to rub off on the kids,” Beasley said. “You know, playing hard and what you put into the game, you get out of the game. That's one thing we (the entire coaching staff) have really preached to them is hard work, and we've had a great season so far,
and that just goes to show when you stick to those principles the results come.”
Now Beasley and the entire Knights team is hopeful it translates to Saturday. Myers has preached what he has all year to prepare for Argos. He wants his team to put pressure on the ball, connect on passes early and avoid mistakes.
It also means not looking ahead to a potential matchup against No. 1 Guerin Catholic in the semistate final, a team that has beaten the Knights the past two seasons and one the players can't help but look forward to playing again.
“Looking very much forward to (playing Guerin Catholic),” Caldwell said. “I feel we should have won the first time and I feel we are definitely going to take it the next time. They better expect a battle when we come.”
Along with the Bishop Luers boys team, Canterbury plays Marion in the Class 2A semistate at Warsaw Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner of that game plays the winner of No. 9 Warsaw against No. 4 Crown Point.
The Knights also send the No. 3 girls team to the semistate round, where they play No. 7 Wheeler at 12 p.m. at Argos in Class A. In Class 2A on the girls side, No. 16 Homestead plays Valparaiso at 12 p.m. at South Bend St. Joseph.
Of course, the rest of the teams don't have Beasley on their sideline to help out. He brings an extra level to a Bishop Luers program that is looking to win its first ever boys soccer state championship.
“You have to be ready on any given day, especially a lot of these top teams with top guys, they have college guys looking out, so they want to be on their best game,” Beasley said about Luers working for a state title. “Everybody has to be ready because right now, everybody is watching.”