On Wednesday, Clint Dempsey announced his immediate retirement from professional soccer. America’s most successful Premier League player, joint top goal scorer for the U.S Men’s National Team, and former captain has closed the chapter on a portion of his life.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) August 29, 2018
Let’s talk about how his career began. Despite reaching the professional level less than a decade and a half ago, Deuce’s European entry is much different from those aspiring to reach similar heights in 2018. He did not join a top German academy in his teenage years like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, or Josh Sargent, instead, Dempsey went through what was seen as typical up until recent years.
Clint Dempsey represented Furman Paladins Men’s Soccer at the collegiate level where he spent three seasons, reaching All-American status in 2002, his second season. Then, the future leader in USMNT goals went on to win MLS Rookie of the Year in 2004 before catching the eye of a London-based club, Fulham, just two years later.
Moving to England proved to be beneficial to both Dempsey, and Fulham. The American spent six years building a legacy at the club which included one of Fulham’s greatest ever moments. In a Europa League match in 2010, the Cottagers headed into the second leg down 4-1 with the American starting the match on the bench.
After miraculously levelling the scoreline, Fulham brought Dempsey on to the pitch. It didn’t take long for the fans to start screaming his name in celebration as his masterful chip attempt found the back post and forever etched his name in the club’s history.
Not long later, at the start of the 2012-2013 season, Dempsey switched colors as he joined the Tottenham Hotspurs, another London-based club. Despite scoring 12 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions, Dempsey was not viewed as a hero, like he was just miles away. Next, it was time for the Texan to return to the States.
In August of 2013, Deuce joined the Seattle Sounders, where he would go on to deliver an MLS Cup, a pair of Western Conference titles, a Supporters’ Shield, and a U.S. Open Cup trophy. After a successful half-decade in rave green, Dempsey decided to call it quits.
While achieving all this success for his clubs, Dempsey wasn’t one to fail his nation. As previously mentioned, the 35-year-old is America’s joint top scorer, alongside Landon Donovan, and three-time Men’s U.S. Soccer Player of the Year (2007, 2011, 2012).
Amongst his finest moments in the red, white, and blue, was his goal in the opening minute of the 2014 World Cup against Ghana. Not only did this goal allow him to claim a goal in three separate World Cup’s, but it gave an entire nation the right to believe that they could get out of the “Group of Death.” Not long after, he scored a big goal against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal who they ended up beating out for a second place finish in the group behind eventual champions, Germany.
That is one of many moments that gives Dempsey the right to walk away as one of the best to ever represent this nation on a soccer field. Whatever Dempsey’s next chapter entails, he’ll have an entire nation behind him.