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Player Profile #11: Clint Dempsey

On an August night in 2013 Seattle shocked the American soccer community and signed one of the few soccer players that moves the needle for non-soccer sports fans. There was just one issue with his signing, how would he fit into the team?

Touch Radius is a thing and Clint Dempsey has it.
Touch Radius is a thing and Clint Dempsey has it.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

America's current captain is a Seattle Sounders FC player. There's joy in writing that. There's bewilderment with exactly how he will be used when he gets back from his Fulham loan, the last indications of 2013 were that he would be a central attacking midfielder with the freedom to do Dempsey-things.


Dempsey transferred to Seattle and MLS from Tottenham Hotspur for a league record fee. This summer Sounders FC will see just how Hotspur looks without Clint when they host the club in a midseason friendly.

#11 Clint Dempsey
Nat'l Affil USA Age 30
Years Pro 10 Years Sounder 1
Pos/Role Attacking Mid, Forward (?!)
MLS (+Playoff) Stats CCL/USOC Stats Reserve Stats
Apps 12 0 0
Starts 9 0 0
Mins 921 0 0
G 1 0 0
A 1 0 0
PP/90 0.29 -- --
Advanced Stats
Off Pass % Net Shot Rate Net Duel Rate
Total 74% -0.39 -0.83
Team Rank 2nd 10th 17th

#11 Clint Dempsey

He's Deuce. A former MLS Rookie of the Year, two time Honda Player of the Year, two time MLS Best XI, three time US Soccer Player of the Year and two time Fulham Player of the Season. His club trophy case is full of "runner-up," but he's most known around the United States because of his 100+ CAPs and 36 goals in Red, White & Blue that join more than 260 competitive appearances for EPL teams with 72 all competitions goals there. His joining Seattle made local sports radio stop talking about the NFL.

He's a Sounder.

His ranking varied more than any other. On pure skill he's the best player on the squad. But when he came, the team struggled. What we saw in 2013 was a player and a team trying to learn each other.

Offense: One of the best dribblers that America produced to this point Dempsey is blessed with an extraordinary touch radius and the ability to see passes that should not be real. His 74% completion rate in the attacking third is an example of just how creative he can be as the primary ball controller in MLS. He is skillful with both feet though uses the right a bit more. A capable shooter from long distance. Takes whatever spaces are available, dropping back, going wide or rushing into the box as needed. Wants to take a free role rather than the structure demanded in the EPL. Decent header of the ball who on set-pieces can be the kicker, a target or someone to collect scraps depending on the rest of the squad.

Defense: Willingly applies pressure to defensive players with the ball. Strong in the air if a bit prone to heavy contact. Not a liability on set-pieces. Does enough work winning 50/50 balls to not be a liability.

Physique: Willing to play through pain. Strong and enjoys the physical nature of the game. Not a speedster. Solid jumping abilities.

Best Case 2014: Clint Dempsey could have an MVP caliber season. He has the creative skills to get double digit assists as Seattle ended the year with him as the CAM. His shooting is good enough for 15+ goals. That's even with missing preseason to be with Fulham and then missing the middle to be with the USA at the World Cup.


He's Deuce and he's ours.


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