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- DOB March 9, 1983
- Age 31
- Place of birth Nacogdoches, Texas
- POSITION Midfielder/Forward
- HEIGHT 6'1"
- WEIGHT 170
- U.S. CAPS 106
- CLUB Seattle Sounders FC
- TWITTER @clint_dempsey (739K followers)
- Current ASN 100 Rank 4
- Previous ASN 100 Rank 3
WORLD CUP STATUS: ON THE PLANE
Clint Dempsey, the United States captain for the 2014 World Cup, did not become one of the United States' best players solely through superior skills. Make no mistake, the Texan can dance with the ball, spot the open man and deliver the ball to his feet, and deliver a laser into the top corner. But what makes him truly special is his borderline maniacal desire to improve, to win, to succeed. It's an attribute born on the rural fields of Nacogdoches, Texas, honed in his time with the Dallas Texans youth team and at Furman University, and perfected as a member of the New England Revolution and Fulham. He joined the Cottagers during the 2006-2007 season and subsequently smashed Brian McBride's record for goals by an American in the English Premier League. He played well for Tottenham, but opted to leave England and join the Seattle Sounders in August 2013. (He is currently on loan with Fulham.)
While Dempsey raised his profile on the global stage, he has improved for the United States national team as well. Early in his Stars and Stripes career, critics sometimes complained that Dempsey didn't hustle enough, didn't try hard enough, and generally struggled to replicate his stunning club form. They were right (sometimes he floated in and out of games) and wrong (sometimes there were good reasons for him doing so), but Dempsey has rendered it a moot argument. He was one of the team's best players during the run-up to the 2010 World Cup, which included a star turn during the 2009 Confederations Cup, and he continues to improve as the squad finds itself under Jurgen Klinsmann. The German-born coach, to his credit, recognizes the player he has in Dempsey: "Step by step, we're getting to where the presence of Clint Dempsey makes a huge difference," the German said soon after taking over the U.S. team. "It's a huge weapon we have in him. His vision on the field, his sharpness, his one-on-one skills, are really top-class. I'm going to push him not to be content with anything that happens in the Premier League."
Dempsey plays anywhere in the attacking third of the field, his skill set better suited to driving forward than winning back balls (although he's willing to get dirty on the defensive side). He can get out wide on either of the flanks, but he's better in the withdrawn striker role, which is where his coach prefers him to play. "Down the road, I'd like to have two strikers and have a Clint Dempsey underneath, but you also have to adjust," Klinsmann told Sporting News. In recent years, Dempsey, more so than anyone on the American team, manages to find the ball near the goal and score when he does. He is a clinical finisher on a team that is desperate for them.
"I will push him, hopefully, to another level he can get to." (February 2012)
Noteworthy ReadsDon't Tread on Clint (ESPN.com)
The Game Don't Care (This Is American Soccer)
Dempsey Ready for Bigger Challenges (FoxSoccer.com)
Clint Dempsey Becoming the Face of American Soccer (SportingNews.com)