By Greg Demetriou
DaMarcus Beasley has plenty to smile about.
The 22-year-old American has made a solid start following his summer switch from Major League Soccer to PSV Eindhoven. And, while today's US presidential election and the recent exploits of baseball's Boston Red Sox have made European headlines, the left-sided midfield player has gone about his business in an unassuming manner. He has certainly helped PSV, who remain unbeaten in the Netherlands and sit top of Group E in the UEFA Champions League ahead of tonight's visit of Rosenborg BK.
"It has been all right," Beasley told uefa.com. "It's been a pretty good start for me. I haven't played as well as I would have liked personally but I think I have been playing my part. The guys have made me feel very welcome and I am definitely enjoying it. The language barrier isn't so bad and it can only get better for me here."
It will if PSV can get beyond the group stage for the first time. "We have the team to do it and we have been playing some good football," Beasley said. "We have a tough away game in Greece in December but we have two home games before where we can try to pick up the points."
His European experience began when he went up against his favourite player Ryan Giggs in a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford. While "it was a great personal experience", Beasley has not allowed himself to become too star-struck at seeing idols up close and personal, adding: "Mostly I just worry about myself." However, he was conscious of following in Arjen Robben's footsteps at the Philips stadium.
"I knew coming here after Robben would be difficult," Beasley said. "He was such a great player for the team and I knew it would be difficult to fill those shoes. I am a different kind of player and I just want to do the best I can." He has certainly earned the support of the crowd. "I have always wanted to win over the fans by the way I play the game and they have been great to me here," he added.
His supporters back home have not forgotten him either, with Beasley one of three players - along with Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra - up for the US Player of the Year award. He finds out on 18 November, but described being nominated as "a great honour". He has been encouraged by recent MLS developments, such as two new teams - including the Real Madrid CF-inspired Real Salt Lake - and dedicated stadiums for established sides like FC Dallas. "This is a big step for the league," said Beasley.
Yet, his commitment to PSV is plain and he has no thoughts on where he might end up should he continue his startling progress. "I am just going day by day and am not thinking two or three years ahead," he said. "I am still new and have not even been in Europe for six months yet. There is a lot of soccer ahead of me."
The Indiana-born Beasley has clearly not been overawed by the challenge of signing for one of Europe's leading clubs. After all, he has had expectation on his shoulders since signing for Chicago Fire at 16. He said: "It is a big difference but
I am just trying to go out and have fun. The big games are exciting and that's why I am here."
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