It's been quite awhile since Clint Dempsey was able to enjoy anything resembling a "normal" offseason. First it was his his tumultuous move from Fulham to Tottenham. The following year, he headed to MLS. Last year, he opted to spend most of his "off" season on loan at Fulham and missed virtually all of the Sounders' preseason.
By contrast, this year must have seemed downright boring. Even after getting started about a week earlier and missing the first couple weeks of Seattle Sounders training while he was with the United States national team, Dempsey was able to take some real time off for first time since the summer of 2012.
Dempsey was back with Sounders on Friday, seemingly energized and ready to go.
"I felt good coming in last season because it was almost like a preseason, going on loan, getting that work, getting my body right and playing at that level," Dempsey told reporters. "I was sharp when I came here and I'm feeling sharp for the preseason camp now. I think what happened, and even after the World Cup, there was a little bit of a lull and a little bit of tiredness in the legs and figuring out how to get that back. I don't think I'll experience that this year, knock on wood."
Dempsey's 2014 was defined by a couple peaks and one long valley. Lending credence to his belief that the loan helped him start strong, Dempsey scored racked up eight goals and three assists over the Sounders' first six games. He followed that up with a nearly four-month span in which he scored just once, but was also limited to just nine Sounders appearances. Dempsey did recover, though, finishing out the year with six goals and six assists over his last 11 regular-season appearances and scored another goal in the playoffs.