United States soccer legend Clint Dempsey revealed that he was leaving the game and ending his illustrious career on Wednesday afternoon, delivering a prepared statement through his current club, the Seattle Sounders, where he has played professionally in the MLS since returning from England in 2013.
“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,” said Dempsey in the statement. “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. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and 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.”
Hanging up the boots at the age of 35, Dempsey can look back on one of the most successful professional careers of any American player, spanning the course of 15 years and taking him from the Mls in the United States to the Premier League in the United Kingdom then back again. The Texan began his career with the New England Revolution before moving to Fulham in 2007, then Tottenham in 2012, before spending his final years in Seattle.
While Dempsey gained respect for his exploits in Europe, it was his performances for the United States national team that made him a legend in his own country. Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals in an American jersey at 57. He only trails Donovan and Cobi Jones for most appearances on the national team, having made 141 appearances. Dempsey does have the most appearances in the United States’ qualifying matches with 43, while tied with Jozy Altidore at 18 goals for the most in qualifiers.
Dempsey made waves with he left Europe for his return to the United States, considered by most followers of the sport to be a steep step down while in the prime of his career. However, Dempsey made his mark back in his home country, scoring 47 goals during his time in Seattle, while also helping the United States make the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Dempsey also fought back from a potentially career-ending irregular heartbeat, sidelining him for the majority of 2016, returning in 2017 to score 12 goals and claim MLS Comeback Player of the Year.