116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Friday, May 12, 2006

Know Your Yanks: Clint Dempsey

Thanks to soccer, he's next to mo' ice than a hockey skate. It's time to play some Paul Wall records, and get chopped and screwed, because Clint Dempsey is about to represent Texas at the World Cup.

Clint Dempsey battles haters both on the pitch and on wax. In addition to being the newest American soccer sensation, Dempsey is also an erstwhile rapper, even recording a (surprisingly listenable) song and video, with the late Houston rapper Big Hawk, for a recent Nike marketing campaign. A charismatic, demonstrative player, Dempsey has been credited as being the first American player to incorporate South American-style "flair" (flashy dribbling moves) into his game on a regular basis.
Dempsey's career began in 2004, with the New England Revolution, where he made an immediate impact as an attacking player and developed a reputation for playing through injury. His 2004 season ended with him receiving the MLS Rookie of the Year award, and he made his U.S. Men's debut the same year. In 2005, Dempsey's profile with the national team rose in a big way, and he featured prominently in the U.S.' run to the Gold Cup championship. His season ended with disappointment, however, when the Revolution lost the MLS Cup final to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Dempsey, whose natural position is as a central attacking midfielder, spends most of his national team time on the right side of midfield, where Coach Bruce Arena likes to utilize his superior footwork. Dempsey's bag of dribbling tricks, combined with his speed, make him a dangerous player. As a result, he draws a lot of fouls (usually very hard fouls, too, because he seldom dives). He is also good at getting forward, and scores a fair number of goals for a midfielder.
As any (every?) American soccer broadcaster will tell you, Dempsey hails from Nacogdoches, Texas (and yes Dave O'Brien, I know it is fun to say "Nacogdoches, Texas," but must you say it 5 times every single game?), and considers himself an ambassador of sorts to working-class youth who want to get into soccer. His confident (bordering on cocky) demeanor, and end-zone-dance-like goal celebrations have made him a fan favorite, of both the Revs and the U.S. Men. Even so, his starting position is not assured; to make an impact at the World Cup, he will have to continue to work hard.

Career Highlights:

2004: Makes pro debut with the New England Revolution (USA, Major League Soccer). Named MLS Rookie of the Year. Makes U.S. Men's National Team debut.

2005: Named to MLS Best XI. Wins Gold Cup with USA.


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