U.S. Men’s National Team forward Clint Dempsey’s move to the MLS’s Seattle Sounders from the European Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur might be the biggest news in MLS history, but what are the Sounders actually getting from their investment?
The Sounders are getting the highest achieving soccer player in American history. Dempsey may not be the main face of the USMNT like Landon Donovan, Claudio Reyna, Tim Howard, Brian McBride or Alexi Lalas were, but he has done greater things for the reputation of American soccer in his career than any of the aforementioned players.
Dempsey was the king of American firsts in Europe. He was the first American to ever appear in a major European final, and the first American player to score a hat trick in the EPL. He is one of only five American players to ever be considered a regular starter for an EPL team.
As the the most prolific American goal scorer in EPL history, Dempsey was the first US player to score more than 10 goals in an that league’s season, and the first American player to reach 50 goals in the league.
When Dempsey played in the EPL, his goal saved Fulham from relegation in his first season in the EPL. He was Fulham’s leading scorer for two consecutive seasons despite not starting for part of the season, broke Louis Saha’s for goals scored in a single season and became the leading scorer in Fulham’s European Premier League history.
In his short time with a forward-heavy Tottenham team that should have given him more playing time, he scored the game winner for Tottenham’s first victory at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium in 23 years.
For the USMNT, Dempsey scored the US’s only goal of the 2006 World Cup. He is one of a few American soccer players to score in multiple World Cups and scored the fastest goal in US World Cup qualifying history. This year he scored the winning goal in the USMNT’s first win against Italy since 1934. So after that long winded list of accomplishments, every MLS team should panic. The Sounders just went from struggling in the Western Conference to having the best offense of any club team in the CONCACAF region.