Clint Dempsey

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 ESLOVENIA VS ESTADOS UNIDOS Action photo of Clint Dempsey of USA, during World Cup 2010 game held at the Ellis Park stadium Johannesburgo, South Africa./Foto de accion de Clint Dempsey de USA, durante juego de la Copa del Mundo 2010 celebrado en el estadio Ellis Park de Johannesburgo, Sudafrica. 18 June 2010 MEXSPORT/ETZEL ESPINOSA Photo via Newscom

Position: Striker/Outside Midfielder

Club: Fulham FC (England)

Club Career

Clint Dempsey’s career arc could be viewed as prototypical for his generation: Deuce (link – the alias he used to create a rap spot for Nike) spent a few years developing in college, became a star in his second season in MLS, started to contribute to the national team (including a super sub performance in the 2006 World Cup), journeyed overseas to fight for a place in a top European league, and, a few years later, found himself an established star for both club and country.

His time in Europe, playing for London-side Fulham, has increased not only his quality of play, but his knack for big moments as well.  In fact, Dempsey’s first goal for Fulham ensured he will always be revered in England’s capital – his strike against Liverpool guaranteed Fulham would not be relegated.  He is now a respected commodity in the illustrious Premier League, leading Fulham in goalscoring in 2007-2008 and tying for the same honor in 2008-2009 (link – These achievements are made even more notable because Dempsey splits time between midfield and striker, though Fulham are also not known for scoring a lot of goals).  A knee injury in the winter of 2010 may have put a damper on what had been to that point an excellent campaign, but he jumped back into the fray by scoring the goal that advanced Fulham to the UEFA League quarterfinals, their best-ever showing in European competition.

National Team History

Dempsey’s knack for fine performances in important matches has carried over to the USMNT.  Since his debut in 2004, he’s scored a number of noteworthy goals, including, among others, USA’s only goal in the 2006 World Cup (link – let’s hope that they score more than once in 2010, yeah?) and the first goal of the 2009 Confederations Cup final.

Though Dempsey has been one of the most potent attacking options for the national side, he has caused headaches for the US managers – there is no consensus on where to play him.  He has been alternated between striker and both outside midfield positions.  Current manager Bob Bradley prefers to start Dempsey in the midfield and, if necessary, move him up top later in the game to take advantage of his nose for the goal.

As the current American field player with the most successful European career, Deuce will be expected to carry his experience from big matches to the upcoming World Cup.  In particular, his familiarity with the Premier League and the English style of play could be useful in the United States’ opening game against England.  Oh, and his first goal for the national team?  It came against England.

World Cup 2010

Much of the discussion leading into the Cup was whether or not to use Dempsey at forward, and though he started every game at outside midfield, the gringos were most proficient when he was deployed as a withdrawn striker. Dempsey’s deep-lying position, along with the inclusion of Benny Feilhaber as a ‘false-eleven,’ allowed USA to control possession and dictate the pace of play. In FFG’s opinion, Dempsey seemed to be the US player most feared by opponents, as squads seemed geared to prevent him from seeing much time on the ball. Algeria even resorted to punching Clint in the face!

Though he only scored one goal (and, make no mistake, it was gifted to him), Dempsey may have been the most important cog in USA’s attack.

Official US Soccer Bio

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