SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (Aug. 29, 2018) — Arguably one of the best strikers in the history of United States soccer has called it a career.
After months of battling a back injury, Clint Dempsey has announced his retirement from professional soccer. Dempsey began his career 15 years ago with the New England Revolution. In 2013, he made his way back to the MLS, signing with Seattle Sounders FC.
Clint Dempsey Announces Retirement From Seattle Sounders, USMNT
Dempsey also featured overseas in the English Premier League for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur. He went back to Fulham on loan for five matches, before permanently returning to MLS action.
“After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game,” Dempsey said. “I’d like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I’ve worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I’m grateful to have been on this ride.”
Dempsey then went on to thank the fans who have supported him throughout his club and international career, which he spent with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“Y’all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember,” Dempsey said.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) August 29, 2018
“Greatest Player in the History of Our Country”
Internationally, Dempsey is tied with fellow retired USMNT international Landon Donovan for the most all-time goals, standing with 57. Dempsey scored his 57th goal against Costa Rica in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match.
Garth Lagerwey, Sounders general manager and president of soccer, called Dempsey the “greatest player in the history of our country.”
“His mark on both our club and the United States Men’s National Team is indelible, and his hard-earned reputation as a trailblazer for our nation in Europe helped pave the way for generations of future Americans abroad,” Lagerwey said, via the same press release. “His service to our game deserves special recognition, and we know our fans will give him that prior to Saturday’s match at CenturyLink Field.”
“As a soccer fan, I admired his game and his career for years before he came to Seattle, and to coach a player with his quality is any manager’s wish,” Schmetzer said. “I’m very happy that he decided to share his talents with the Sounders community and I wish him luck in the next chapter of his life.”
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) August 29, 2018
Deuce Knew How to Have Fun
Aside from his excellence on the pitch, Dempsey knew how to have fun. He was not a traditional athlete in the sport of soccer.
Outside of soccer, he was just an average guy. He enjoys hunting and fishing in his native state of Texas. He has also been vocal about supporting the arts, including sharing his rapping talents with fans.
But most important to Dempsey is his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas. Dempsey frequently talks about the town and how his start in soccer was by his parents — Aubrey and Debbie Dempsey — driving him three hours to Dallas for practices and another three hours back home.
Dempsey also believed in community service, often supporting local charities around the Seattle area and community. The striker was also big on the importance of medicine after an irregular heartbeat sidelined him most of the 2016 season.
“In particular, I know many were inspired by Clint’s resolve in returning to the field last season from a major health issue, and that character is something I’ll remember most about him,” Adrian Hanauer, Sounders owner, said. “Clint is a fighter, and he’ll always be a Sounder. We thank him for all he’s done for our sport.”
However, nothing is more precious to Dempsey than his wife, Bethany, and four children: Elyse, Jackson, Sophia and Clayton.
PHOTO: Clint Dempsey takes the field at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash., against the Houston Dynamo on April 4, 2015. Dempsey announced his retirement from professional soccer on Aug. 29, 2018, after a 15-year career. Photo by Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.