Captain and starting striker, Clint Dempsey, will be leading the U.S. national team on and off the field during the World Cup. Watch the video above to see Dempsey’s interview and profile with MLS Insider.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 9, 2014
Here’s what you need to know about the standout player:
1. He Comes From Humble Beginnings
Dempsey was born March 9, 1983 in a trailer park in Nacogdoches, Texas where he grew up. He played soccer everyday with his brother and sister along with other kids around his area that were willing to play.
He was noticed when his brother Ryan who was a talented player was recruited to tryout for the elite youth clubs around the state. Ryan brought his younger brother to the tryout for the Dallas Texans and the scouts immediately noticed Clint’s potential while he was on the sideline juggling a ball.
Although Clint was a standout player, he was forced to quit due to the tight money situation in his family when they had to make the choice between his sister’s bright future in tennis and his in soccer. Clint was able to rejoin the Texans when the parents of his teammates offered to pay his expenses to stay on the team.
Dempsey went on to play Division I soccer for Furman University with a full ride.
2. He Has Been U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year 3 Times
The U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award is considered the most highly respected award a soccer player in the United States can receive. Fans made up 50 percent of the vote via the U.S. Soccer’s Facebook Page with the other 50 percent decided by National Team coaches and members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors.
Dempsey received the prestigious award for the third time in 2012, after receiving it in 2007 and 2011. This made Dempsey the second three-time winner in history, along with goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Landon Donovan, who was cut from the world Cup roster was the only player to win 4 times. Dempsey joined Donovan as the only two player to have won the award consecutively.
3. He Released a Rap Song
Clint has a strong personality that his teammates and fans look up to. He plays with heart for the team and his loved ones who have nicknamed the talented forward “Deuce.”
Besides soccer Dempsey has found a love for freestyle rapping and took the nickname “Deuce” when he teamed up with Houston rappers, Big Hawk and XO to come out with his own rap song and music video called “Don’t Tread” which is the video shown above. The song is dedicated to the determination of the U.S. national team and his sister.
4. He is a 7-Year Veteran in the English Premier League
Dempsey’s career began in 2004 in the MLS as a rookie for the New England Revolution, playing from 2004-2006 before being traded to Fulham in the English Premier League (EPL). He excelled at Fulham with 50 goals in 184 appearances from 2007-2012 when he was traded to Tottenham Hotspur, another team in the EPL.
Interesting (and perhaps enlightening) quote tonight from Clint Dempsey: pic.twitter.com/8qlwgHk2zp
— Joshua Mayers (@joshuamayers) April 13, 2014
He stayed at Tottenham from 2012-2013 with 7 goals in 29 appearances before he was traded back the the Seattle Sounders FC (MLS). He was loaned back to Fulham FC for 2 months this year but has returned to the Seattle Sounders FC since appearing in 5 games thus far.
In March Dempsey was suspended for two games and fined for kicking Toronto FC player, Mark Bloom in the crotch.
Dempsey explained what happened to The Seattle Times:
To be honest with you. I felt a hand on my back. I tried to hit it away and thought I was hitting his hand away. I understand that maybe I did catch him a little bit. I apologized to him about that, but for me, all I was trying to do was smack his hand from touching my back.”
Click here to see his full history and career stats.
5. His Goal Celebrations Have a Special Meaning
When Dempsey was 12-years-old, his older sister Jennifer died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. She was just 16-years-old at the time and was pursuing tennis at the highest level in Texas. Dempsey’s family was overcome with grief over the loss, but Clint used it as fuel to succeed in soccer to honor his sister and her memory. The motivation he got from the devastation made him a stronger person he explained in an interview with MLS Insider.
Dempsey lost a friend and teammate from his high school team shortly after they graduated, giving him even more inspiration to succeed in the name of his lost loved ones.
After every goal you’ll find Dempsey pointing to the sky for his sister or throwing up the number 13, his high school teammate’s number to show he did it for them and to let them know they will never be forgotten.
Watch the video above to hear Dempsey’s story as a part of the series “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.”