In a shock move that many thought was just a Twitter hoax at first, Clint Dempsey has come home. The U.S. Men’s National Team captain signed a guaranteed four-year contract to join the Seattle Sounders. A reported MLS-record transfer fee of $9 million sealed his move from Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League.
Sales of Dempsey’s adidas number 2 shirt were brisk as he was introduced to a gameday crowd at CenturyLink Field last weekend, unzipping his sweatshirt to reveal his new Seattle jersey.
He’s an undoubted superstar who’s come home still in his prime.
“Clint could have played in any league throughout the world, and he chose MLS and the Sounders, “said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
The 30-year old Texas native has spent the last seven seasons in the Premier League, first with Fulham and the last year with Tottenham.
Dempsey is one of the best American players in history, and has had arguably the best international career by a United States player. He was the first American to score 10 goals in a Premier League campaign, leading Fulham with 12 in the 2010-2011 season. He was the first U.S. player to reach 50 Premier League goals. He totaled 72 in all competitions during his time abroad.
At Fulham, Dempsey was twice voted the club’s “Player of the Season,” and in 2012 he finished fourth in the English Football Writers’ Association voting for Player of the Year behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes. He left Fulham to join Spurs for the 2012-2013 season, signing for £6 million, becoming the highest paid U.S. soccer player of all time.
Dempsey began his professional career with Major League Soccer with the New England Revolution, and immediately asserted himself as a rising star, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2004. He played domestically until 2006.
Seattle adds to an already active strike force of Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins. Dempsey went to England as an attacking midfielder, but has evolved into an aggressive striker who is also comfortable on the wing. On paper, this trio looks one of the strongest in the league. Sounders fans hope they can push the team into playoff contention. Wearing the new Nike Hypervenom cleats, Dempsey will no doubt treat fans to many more goals.
As Dempsey became a stronger player for his club sides, he has also emerged as a bona fide star for the U.S. team. Consistent minutes with Seattle will continue to prepare Dempsey for the build up to the World Cup. He has eight goals in five appearances with the Stars and Stripes in 2013.
Dempsey cited the “incredible atmosphere and the passion from the supporters” aiding in his decision. Joining a team with the highest attendance in the MLS, soccer-crazy Seattle will ease the transition from football-mad London.
“Seattle, I just want to thank y’all and the Seattle Sounders organization for making me feel so welcome and at home,” Dempsey said at his introduction.
“I look forward to getting on the field and playing in front of the best fans in the world. I think we’ll accomplish some great things here. So, once again, thank you.”