Clint Dempsey Loan To Fulham Was Not Worth The Trouble

Clint Dempsey Fulham

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When the Seattle Sounders FC signed United States Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur in August of 2013, wording was placed into his contract allowing him to seek a loan during this offseason. Dempsey ended up choosing to go back to Fulham FC where he spent six seasons making 225 appearances and scoring 60 goals.

Demspey stated that he chose Fulham for ”a lot of different things. I just wanted to be back playing at the highest level, get back to top form and get back to helping the team where they are not where they want to be in the table.” He was eligible to play for Fulham on New Year’s Day but did not make his first appearance until the FA Cup clash with Norwich City on Jan. 4. The match ended in a draw with Dempsey playing the full 90 minutes.

Going into Wednesday’s match with Liverpool, Dempsey has two more chances to play for Fulham. As of now, Dempsey has made six appearances out of the possible 10 logging 475 minutes of 930 total or 51 percent — a number that would place him seventh among Fulham outfield players during the loan period. Dempsey also has no goals nor assists and only one shot on target in those appearances.

Fulham is not any better off than they were before Dempsey joined the club as they have earned four points out of a possible 20 available in the league during that time. They are still bottom of the table though still in striking distance to jump out of the relegation zone.

These numbers are just showing how awful an idea this loan was. Dempsey should have stayed in the United States to participate in the National Team’s January camp where he could have further developed his rapport with the other domestic based players. Jurgen Klinsmann could have kept a first-hand account of Dempsey’s fitness levels while pushing him at his own pace.

Once that camp was done then he could have gotten an entire preseason to work with Sigi Schmid and his fellow Sounders FC teammates. This is the time when chemistry is developed — something that is even more important with all of the changes happening for the Sounders during the offseason. Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson are gone and replaced with Kenny Cooper and Marco Pappa; the need for a good start will be paramount for Seattle after the disastrous end to season in 2013.

It’s understandable why Dempsey wanted the loan after going from preseason training mode with Tottenham to a playoff push with Seattle. This offseason would have been the perfect time for him to take a breather and get his head on straight for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. He is the captain of the team currently, and something better than his best will be needed for the United States to have any glimmer of hope in advancing to the knockout rounds.

Matthew Evans is a soccer writer for, “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google


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  • Matt10L

    No, it was well worth the trouble. He can stay at a higher level and face high level opponents – what is the problem? The FULHAM team in general is doing terrible – if he made a difference, then would you still be saying the same thing? Doubtful. The team is terrible, Martin Jol left a bad taste in their mouth – and it’s evident by the amount of necessary new faces the Fulham management have to bring in. FWIW, the USMNT is playing better football than Fulham are – so when he gets solid players around him – it will be like he was never on a “drought” – and this article will be just another pointless rant.

    • Matthew Evans

      Matt, thank you for the comment. To answer your question, I would still be saying the same thing even if he made a difference with Fulham.

      The problem with this loan was that he did not play against high level opponents; he did play 90 versus Arsenal and 26 versus Southampton. His other appearances? 90 versus Norwich, 78 versus Sunderland, 70 versus Swansea (all teams still fighting to survive relegation) and 120 versus Sheffield United, who themselves are in a relegation fight to the fourth division.

      I really hope that he does break out of this “drought” for the sake of himself, the USMNT and the Sounders.

  • john

    ‘any glimmer of hope’ of advancing rests on dempsey’s shoulders??? No. If our hopes rest on Dempsey, we might as well not even go. Dempsey’s gone rapidly downhill since he left Fulham. He’s a different player when he puts on the national team jersey, but he’s simply not as good as he was… and playing as he has for the last 18 months, if he didn’t have such a favorable history with the USMNT, he wouldn’t set foot on the field. I’m less worried about him, as we have the midfield depth, but more worried that Jozy will get grandfathered in, despite being in terrible form and being outplayed by Johannson, Boyd, Gomez, Agudelo, hell, even Wondo…