Clinton Drew “Clint” Dempsey /ˈdɛmpsi/ (born March 9, 1983) is an American soccer player who plays for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer and is the captain of the United States national team.
Growing up in Nacogdoches, Texas, Dempsey played for one of the top youth soccer clubs in the state, the Dallas Texans, before playing for Furman University’s men’s soccer team. In 2004, Dempsey was drafted by Major League Soccer club New England Revolution, where he quickly integrated himself into the starting lineup. Hindered initially by a jaw injury, he would eventually score 25 goals in 71 appearances with the Revolution. Between 2007 and 2012, Dempsey played for Premier League team Fulham and is the club’s highest Premier League goalscorer of all time. Dempsey became the first American player to score a hat-trick in the English Premier League, in the 5–2 win over Newcastle United in January 2012.
Dempsey first represented the United States at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. He made his first appearance with the senior team on November 17, 2004, against Jamaica; he was then named in the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and scored the team’s only goal of the tournament. Dempsey recorded the fastest goal in US World Cup qualifying history by scoring after 53 seconds of an eventual 8–0 defeat of Barbados. He later bested that feat in 2012 scoring just 36 seconds into a 2-1 qualifying loss at Jamaica. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Dempsey scored against England, becoming the second American, after Brian McBride, to score goals in multiple World Cup tournaments.
Dempsey was born in Nacogdoches, Texas and, for much of his childhood, his family lived in a trailer park, where he and his siblings grew up playing soccer with the local children or anyone they could find. His older brother Ryan was offered a tryout for the Dallas Texans, an elite youth soccer club, and brought Clint, who was noticed and recruited while passing time juggling a ball on the sidelines. Dempsey became a standout on the team at an early age, but had to quit due to his family’s time and money constraints as his eldest sister Jennifer was becoming a ranked youth tennis player. Several parents of his teammates with the Texans offered to assist the Dempseys with expenses and travel, allowing him to rejoin the club.
On November 27, 1995, Dempsey lost his then 16-year-old sister Jennifer to a brain aneurysm. Dempsey was devastated with the family’s loss and later explained that this event helped him develop a deeper motivation to pursue soccer; in honor of his sister.
He went on to be the captain and high scorer of the Texans and was honored with the MVP of the Tampa Bay Sun Bowl tournament. Dempsey studied the play of Argentina’s national team, especially Diego Maradona. Clint was heartbroken when the news came to Nacogdoches that Maradona would not be playing in the 1994 World Cup game played in the Cotton Bowl. He attended Furman University as a health and exercise major and a key player for Paladins soccer.
New England Revolution
New England Revolution selected Clint Dempsey eighth overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. In his rookie season, he started 23 of 24 matches scoring seven goals. Dempsey helped the Revolution to the Eastern Conference Finals and earned 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year Honors. In 2005, Dempsey contributed ten goals and nine assists in 26 games. He scored the game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference Final on his way to an appearance in the MLS Cup Final. In 2006, Dempsey added 8 more goals, but missed significant time in the playoffs due to injury. He came on as a substitute in the MLS Cup Final, but the Revolution lost their second straight final, this time in a penalty shoot-out.
In December 2006, English club Fulham offered MLS $4 million for the transfer of Dempsey, then the largest amount ever offered for an MLS player and became another American addition to a Cottagers’ squad which included US internationals Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra. On January 11, 2007, he was granted a work permit from the Home Office as Fulham announced his signing on a long-term deal. This made Dempsey the most expensive American export to the Premier League in a deal worth a reported £2 million. He made his Fulham debut in a 1–1 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur on January 20, 2007. His FA Cup debut followed seven days later in a 3–0 home win over Stoke City. Dempsey scored his first goal for Fulham on 5 May when he struck the only goal of a 1–0 home win over Liverpool. This goal saved Fulham from relegation and effectively guaranteed their place in the top-flight for the following season.
Dempsey was not in the starting XI for the first three matches of the 2007–08 season, but after an injury to Brian McBride, he came into the side as a striker and scored in a 2–1 defeat at Aston Villa. He followed this up by scoring in Fulham’s next fixture in a 3–3 home draw against Tottenham on September 1. Two weeks later, he opened the scoring in Fulham’s 1–1 away draw against Wigan Athletic. These goals gave Dempsey three in as many games. On September 29, Dempsey was involved in an aerial collision with John Terry during a 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge which resulted in Terry being substituted. There was some suggestion that Dempsey used a deliberate elbow on Terry; however, he wasn’t punished for the incident as referee Martin Atkinson didn’t report it to the Football Association. On November 3, Dempsey scored during Fulham’s 3–1 home win over Reading to secure just a second league win of the season. He scored his last goals of the season in a 1–1 home draw with Wigan Athletic and 5–1 away loss to Tottenham in December. In May 2008, Fulham announced Dempsey had signed a contract extension which would keep him at the club until the summer of 2010. Fulham beat Portsmouth 1–0 on the final day of the season to secure Premier League status for another year.He ended the season as Fulham’s top Premier League goalscorer with six goals.
Dempsey made the Fulham XI only once in the first eleven fixtures of the 2008–09 season but scored his first goal in a 1–1 away draw at Portsmouth on October 26 after coming on as a substitute. He replaced Zoltan Gera in the side and scored his first home goal of the season in a 3–0 win over Middlesbrough on December 20. Eight days later he scored twice in the West London derby against Chelsea which included a last-minute equaliser in a 2–2 home draw. On February 24, 2009, Dempsey scored the first FA Cup goal of his career in a 2–1 home win over Swansea City in the fifth-round. His final home goal of the season came in a 2–1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on March 11. Fulham came from a goal down to beat Manchester City 3–1 away from home as Dempsey scored two goals on April 12. For the second successive season, Dempsey ended as Fulham’s top Premier League goalscorer joint with Andrew Johnson with seven goals. These goals helped Fulham secure a seventh-place finish in the Premier League, the highest in the club’s history, and confirmed their qualification for the newly formed UEFA Europa League for the following season.
On August 13, 2009, Dempsey signed a contract extension to remain with Fulham through 2013. On August 20, he scored his first goal in European competition, in the new Europa League, netting Fulham’s second goal in a 3–1 win against Amkar Perm in the play-off round. On December 30, La Gazzetta dello Sport named Dempsey as one of the top eleven Premier League players of the season. On January 17, 2010, Dempsey suffered a suspected cruciate knee ligament injury in a 2–0 away defeat to Blackburn Rovers. On March 11, Dempsey returned, coming on in the last minute of Fulham’s loss away to Juventus, and then completed 72 minutes of their away loss to Manchester United in the league. On March 18, Dempsey came off the bench against Juventus in their second-leg, last-16 tie in the Europa League and scored the winner on a long chip shot. Fulham won the game 4–1 and this game resulted in Fulham winning an award, as well as Dempsey receiving an award for his ‘Wonderful’ (Quote from the commentator on ESPN) goal. The Guardian suggested that the goal “might become the most famous goal in Fulham’s history”. On May 12, Dempsey replaced Bobby Zamora in the 55th minute of the 2010 UEFA Europa League Final, thus making history in becoming the first ever American to appear in a major European final. In the end, Fulham lost the match, as Atlético Madrid’s Diego Forlán scored in the 116th minute of extra time, giving Atlético a 2–1 win. His performances throughout 2009–10 earned him the designation of Most Valuable Player among Americans in Europe by SoccerOverThere.com, among other sources.
Dempsey was on the substitutes’ bench for Fulham’s first two away games of 2010–11, but became a regular starter, one of only five USA players in the Premier League to do so. On September 18, 2010, he scored an equalising goal on 56 minutes with a header against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the 1–1 draw to continue Fulham’s unbeaten record in the Barclays Premier League. On October 2, he scored against West Ham United past Robert Green, the same keeper that he had scored against in the World Cup. He then continued his form by scoring two goals against Wigan Athletic on October 30 as Fulham ran out 2–0 winners. On January 22, 2011, Dempsey scored another double versus Stoke, putting Fulham temporarily out of relegation contention.
On March 19, Dempsey became the first USA player to score 10 goals in a Premier League season, beating Brian McBride’s previous record of nine, also set while at Fulham in the 2005–06 season and 2006–07 season.
Clint Dempsey broke Fulham’s Premier League goalscoring record by netting twice in a 3–0 victory over Bolton on April 27, 2011. He has scored a total of 33 goals for the team in the Premier League, topping both Brian McBride and Steed Malbranque, each with 32. With these goals, he scored 12 goals for Fulham in the 2010–11 season.
Dempsey was voted Fulham player of the season for 2010–11 by the Fulham fans, and his 12 Premier League strikes meant he was the club’s leading goalscorer for the campaign.
Dempsey scored a brace in the first leg of Fulham’s 2011–12 Europa League play-off clash against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk at Craven Cottage. Dempsey ended with two goals as Fulham ran out 3–0 winners, setting up a comfortable second leg in Ukraine. On December 5, 2011, Dempsey scored in the 85th minute to secure a 1–0 win against Liverpool at Craven Cottage. The goal propelled Dempsey to become the most prolific USA goalscorer in the Premier League, passing Fulham legend and fellow American Brian McBride. Dempsey scored his fifth Premier League goal of the campaign with a header in a 2–0 home win against Bolton on December 17, lifting his side six points clear of the drop zone.
In the club’s West London derby against rivals Chelsea on Boxing Day, Dempsey scored the equalising goal as the game ended in a 1–1 draw. He then scored the first hat-trick of his career on January 7 against Charlton in their FA Cup Third Round game which ended in a 4–0 victory. On January 21, 2012, Dempsey scored another hat-trick against Newcastle while the game ended in a 5–2 win for Fulham and sent his goal tally in the Premier League to nine for the season. With his hat-trick against Newcastle, he became the first ever USA player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. Dempsey scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season, sixteenth in all competitions, in a 1–1 draw against former manager Roy Hodgson’s West Brom on February 1, 2012. This run of good form saw Dempsey play higher-up the field into an orthodox striker position.
He “assisted” another goal in a 2–1 win against Stoke City on February 11, 2012. His 28th-minute shot hit the crossbar and was deflected by Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen. It was therefore awarded as an own goal off the goalie. His form this season continued against Wolverhampton Wanderers where Dempsey scored twice in a 5–0 victory for Fulham. On March 8, 2012, the day before Dempsey’s 29th birthday, Fulham manager Martin Jol revealed that the club had opened talks with the North American over a new three-year contract.
Dempsey scored his fourteenth and fifteenth Premier League goals of the campaign, bringing his tally to twenty-one in all competitions, in a 3–0 away win over Bolton Wanderers on April 7, the first a free kick and the second a header. The strikes moved Dempsey past Louis Saha’s record of thirteen Premier League goals for the club in a single season. Dempsey finished fourth on the FWA Footballer of the Year list behind winner Robin van Persie and Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes, who came in second and third, respectively. Dempsey became the first USA player to reach the milestone of fifty goals in the Premier League, with a free-kick against Sunderland in the last home game of the season.
On June 7, 2012, Dempsey was voted the Fulham ‘Player of the Season’ by fans for the second consecutive season. On August 31, 2012, Fulham confirmed Dempsey’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
On August 31, 2012, Dempsey joined Tottenham Hotspur on a three-year contract for a fee believed to be in the region of £6 million. The deal made Dempsey the highest salaried US football player of all time. With the 23 shirt that he wore at Fulham and the number 8 that he usually wears on international duty unavailable, he opted for the number 2 jersey, more usually associated with the right-back, which he wore at Furman University. Dempsey scored his first and the eventual match-winning goal for Tottenham in a 3–2 win over Manchester United. It was the first time in 23 years that Tottenham had won at Old Trafford. He scored his second goal for Spurs in the 39th minute in an away game at Southampton in October. Dempsey’s third and fourth goals were scored against Everton in an eventual 2–1 loss and a deflected effort Reading on New Year’s Day to help his Spurs side win 3–1. In the FA Cup 3rd round, he scored a double against Coventry City. On January 20, 2013, in a driving snow at White Hart Lane against league leaders Manchester United, Dempsey was able to salvage a dramatic 1–1 draw for the Spurs by slotting home a pass from Aaron Lennon in the 93rd minute. The goal was his fourth goal in four appearances in 2013. On January 27, 2013 Dempsey scored a looping header against Leeds United at Elland Road, in the FA Cup to bring the score to 2–1, however Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t draw equal throughout the rest of the game. Leaving the game at 2–1 to Leeds at the whistle. Dempsey was unable to make an impression against his old club on March 17, when Fulham came away from White Hart Lane with a 1–0 victory. On April 21, Dempsey scored the first of three goals for Tottenham in a 3–1 win over Manchester City at White Hart Lane. On May 12, Dempsey scored a long range goal and added an assist while playing against Stoke City to help Spurs win 2–1 and keep them in contention for the fourth Champions League spot.
On April 11, 2013, Dempsey scored two goals against FC Basel in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-finals to send the match into extra time. Tottenham eventually lost the match on penalties, and thus were eliminated from Europe.
Seattle Sounders FC
On August 3, 2013, Dempsey signed with MLS club Seattle Sounders FC as a Designated Player on a four-year contract, for a transfer fee of $9 million. He once again donned the number 2 shirt, forgoing the number 8 he usually wears for the United States and the number 23 he wore at Fulham. The previous user of the number 2 shirt, DeAndre Yedlin, moved to number 17. Dempsey made his league debut for Seattle on August 10, 2013 in a 2–1 victory over Toronto FC. Dempsey entered the match as a 34th-minute substitute after Obafemi Martins came off with an ankle injury.
Dempsey first played for the United States national team at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. He made his first appearance with the senior team on November 17, 2004, against Jamaica. He has frequently lined up as a striker due to his scoring threat and aerial ability, but his preferred and more normal role is off the striker. He won the highest individual honor in football in America when he was named Honda Player of the Year for 2006, beating Fulham teammates Kasey Keller and Brian McBride in a poll of sportswriters. Dempsey received 237 points in voting by 207 sports journalists to claim the award.
On May 2, 2006, Dempsey was named to the US roster for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was the only American player to score a goal in the tournament with his equalizing goal in the Americans’ eventual 2–1 loss to Ghana.
In the United States’ opening 2010 World Cup qualifier, Dempsey recorded the then fastest goal in US qualifying history with a chest trap and sliding shot 53 seconds into a 8–0 defeat of Barbados. But thereafter, Dempsey experienced a dip in form leading some to doubt his first-choice status with the national team. However, Dempsey turned his fortunes around in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. In the final group stage match against Egypt, Dempsey scored a trademark diving header off a Jonathan Spector cross, making the final result 3–0. This, combined with Brazil’s 3–0 victory against Italy in the other group match that was being played simultaneously, put the United States through to the semi-finals. In the semi-final match against Spain, Dempsey scored to put the USA up 2–0 to send them to the finals. He was named the Man of the Match for his performance. Dempsey scored in his third straight game in the Confederations Cup Final against Brazil, redirecting a similar cross from Spector in the 10th minute to open the scoring. Following the loss, he was awarded the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s 3rd best performer.
He ended the World Cup qualifying campaign tied with Landon Donovan as the team’s second top scorer, behind Jozy Altidore, with five goals in thirteen matches.
On June 12, 2010, Dempsey became the second American (after Brian McBride) to score in more than one World Cup when he scored the equalizer goal against England in the Americans’ first game of the 2010 World Cup after the England goalkeeper Robert Green made a major error. Dempsey’s disallowed goal later in the tournament against Algeria in the group stage was very controversial. Dempsey was called offside, but the replay showed that he was most likely not offside. Despite this call, his teammate Landon Donovan scored a late stoppage time goal to win the game 1–0.
During the 2011 Gold Cup, Dempsey played a key role in helping the United States. advance to the final. In the group stages he recorded a goal in a 2–0 win over Canada, and in the quarter-finals, Dempsey also scored a goal in a 2–0 win over Jamaica. In the semi-finals against Panama, who had shockingly defeated the United States 1–2 in the group stage, Dempsey scored the only goal to advance the Americans to the final. With a sliding touch Dempsey redirected Landon Donovan’s pass into the net.
On February 29, 2012, Dempsey scored the lone goal in an international friendly win against four time World champion Italy. Jozy Altidore assisted on the goal, allowing the United States to win for the first time against Italy in eleven games played since 1934.
Dempsey broke his own fastest-goal record in World Cup qualifying on September 7, scoring just 39 seconds into a 2–1 defeat against Jamaica in Kingston. During a qualifying match against Guatemala on October 16, 2012, Dempsey scored his 29th and 30th international goal, tying him with Brian McBride for third most goals scored for the United States national team. The goals helped the United States advance into the final qualifying stage for World Cup 2014.
In March 2013, Dempsey was given the captain’s armband by Jürgen Klinsmann for the important World Cup qualifying matches versus Costa Rica and Mexico.
On June 2, 2013, Dempsey scored two goals against Germany in a 4–3 win. The goals were his 34th and 35th overall for the national team, surpassing Eric Wynalda as second all-time top-goalscorer for the United States.
Dempsey is a versatile right footed midfielder, he normally played on the right or up front as second striker for Tottenham, and on left for the United States, at times shooting from long distances and even scoring at club level from said long range shots. However, he has also proven to be more of a threat the closer to goal he gets. His goals against Egypt and Spain in the Confederations Cup came almost immediately after being moved forward by a substitution from Bob Bradley.
Known for his toughness and resilience, Dempsey played two games for New England Revolution with a broken jaw in 2004 before the team trainer diagnosed it, and upon his return, he played through the pain of a sprained ankle. Despite usually playing in wide positions, he frequently scores close-range goals and has scored repeatedly with diving headers in crowded situations.
His tenacity in midfield combined with his audacious close control dribbling skills frequently results in opponents fouling him, and Dempsey has gained a reputation for fierce play. This has on several occasions lapsed into violent conduct. He was suspended by the New England Revolution for two weeks in March 2006 for a fist fight with teammate Joe Franchino during a practice game and was twice suspended by MLS during the 2006 season for violent conduct against opponents, including an elbow that broke the jaw of national teammate Jimmy Conrad. In a similar incident with Fulham in 2007, Dempsey broke the cheekbone of Chelsea defender John Terry in an aerial challenge but was not penalised. A similar incident in December 2011, took place in a match against Manchester United, with Dempsey elbowing opponent Phil Jones in the side of the head and causing a suspected broken cheekbone. No action was taken by the referee.
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Clinton Drew "Clint" Dempsey /ˈdɛmpsi/ (born March 9, 1983) is an American soccer player who plays for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer and is the captain of the United States national team. Growing up in Nacogdoches, Texas, Dempsey played for one of the top youth soccer clubs in the state, the Dallas Texans, before playing for Furman University's men's soccer team.