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Clint Dempsey turned down USMNT camp to focus on injury prevention

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Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey may not have been called into either of the past two United States training camps, but he still sees himself as having a future with Jurgen Klinsmann and the national team. Dempsey's last turn with the national team came in a much criticized performance against Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, which cost the USMNT a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The former USMNT captain said Klinsmann gave him a heads up before it was announced he had been left off the World Cup qualifying roster in November and gave him a choice about attending the current training camp.

"He sent me a text asking if it was something I wanted to do, or did I need a little more rest," Dempsey said during an interview with ESPNFC.com. "I told him I wanted to build a little bit slower going into the season especially with the injuries i had last year. I want to make sure I have a good foundation and you hit the ground running there."

Through a combination of injuries, suspensions and national team duty, Dempsey missed 14 league games in 2015. His 33 appearances for club and country through all competitions was one of the lowest totals of his professional career. He still managed to score 21 goals, including nine with the USMNT.

That doesn't mean Dempsey is planning to take it easy all year. The soon-to-be-33-year-old also said he was hopeful that he'd be named to the Copa America 2016 roster, while acknowledging he's got his eyes on a different prize.

"I'd love to play in that tournament, if it's meant to be," he said. "If I don't, I don't. I'm focused on trying to win a MLS Cup for Seattle."