| March 9,
He was the MVP of the Tampa Bay Sun Bowl tournament while playing for the Dallas Texans youth team.
He went on to be the captain and high scorer of the Texans and was honored with the MVP of the Tampa Bay Sun Bowl tournament. Dempsey studied the play of Argentina’s national team, especially Diego Maradona, and was heartbroken when the news came to Nacogdoches that Maradona would not be playing in the 1994 World Cup game played in the Cotton Bowl. He attended Furman University as a health and exercise science major and a key player for Paladins soccer.
On November 27, 1995, Dempsey’s 16-year-old sister Jennifer died from a brain aneurysm. Dempsey was devastated with the family’s loss and later explained that this event helped him develop a deeper motivation to pursue soccer in honor of his sister.
The New England Revolution selected Clint Dempsey eighth overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. In his rookie season, he started 23 of 24 matches scoring seven goals. Dempsey helped the Revolution to the Eastern Conference Finals and earned 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year Honors. He was also named the 2004 Man of the Year by the Midnight Riders. In 2005, Dempsey contributed ten goals and nine assists in 26 games. He scored the game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference Final on his way to an appearance in the MLS Cup Final.
Dempsey first played for the United States national team at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. He made his first appearance with the senior team on November 17, 2004, against Jamaica in qualification for the 2006 World Cup, replacing Ramiro Corrales for the final 23 minutes of a 1–1 draw at the Columbus Crew Stadium.
On May 28, 2005, he scored his first international goal on his sixth cap, a consolation in a 2–1 defeat to England at Soldier Field, Chicago, by heading in after a save by goalkeeper David James. Dempsey’s first international tournament was the United States’ victorious 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign; he netted their first goal, equalising as they came from behind to defeat Cuba 4–1 at Qwest Field in Seattle.
In 2006, Dempsey added 8 more goals, but missed significant time in the playoffs due to injury. He came on as a substitute in the MLS Cup Final, but the Revolution lost their second straight final, this time in a penalty shoot-out.
In December 2006, English club Fulham offered MLS $4 million for the transfer of Dempsey, then the largest amount ever offered for an MLS player, and he became another American addition to a Cottagers’ squad which included U.S. internationals Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra.
On May 2, 2006, Dempsey was named to the US roster for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was the only American player to score a goal in the tournament, a group stage elimination, with his equalizing goal in the Americans’ eventual 2–1 loss to Ghana. He won the highest individual honor in soccer in America when he was named Honda Player of the Year for 2006, beating Fulham teammates Kasey Keller and Brian McBride in a poll of sportswriters. Dempsey received 237 points in voting by 207 sports journalists to claim the award.
On January 11, 2007, he was granted a work permit from the Home Office as Fulham announced his signing on a long-term deal. This made Dempsey the most expensive American export to the Premier League in a deal worth a reported £2 million. He made his Fulham debut in a 1–1 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur on January 20, 2007. His FA Cup debut followed seven days later in a 3–0 home win over Stoke City.
In May 2008, Fulham announced Dempsey had signed a contract extension which would keep him at the club until the summer of 2010. Fulham beat Portsmouth 1–0 on the final day of the season to secure Premier League status for another year. He ended the season as Fulham’s top Premier League goalscorer with six goals.
On February 24, 2009, Dempsey scored the first FA Cup goal of his career in a 2–1 home win over Swansea City in the fifth-round. His final home goal of the season came in a 2–1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on March 11. Fulham came from a goal down to beat Manchester City 3–1 away from home as Dempsey scored two goals on April 12.
On August 13, 2009, Dempsey signed a contract extension to remain with Fulham through 2013.
In the United States’ opening 2010 World Cup qualifier, Dempsey recorded the then fastest goal in U.S. qualifying history with a chest trap and sliding shot 53 seconds into an 8–0 defeat of Barbados. But thereafter, Dempsey experienced a dip in form leading some to doubt his first-choice status with the national team. However, Dempsey turned his fortunes around in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. In the final group stage match against Egypt, Dempsey scored a trademark diving header off a Jonathan Spector cross, making the final result 3–0. This, combined with Brazil’s 3–0 victory against Italy in the other group match that was being played simultaneously, put the United States through to the semi-finals. In the semi-final match against Spain, Dempsey scored to put the U.S. up 2–0 to send them to the finals. He was named the Man of the Match for his performance. Dempsey scored in his third straight game in the Confederations Cup Final against Brazil, redirecting a similar cross from Spector in the 10th minute to open the scoring.
On January 17, 2010, Dempsey suffered a suspected cruciate knee ligament injury in a 2–0 away defeat to Blackburn Rovers.
Dempsey was on the substitutes’ bench for Fulham’s first two away games of 2010–11, but became a regular starter, one of only five U.S. players in the Premier League to do so. On September 18, 2010, he scored an equalizing goal on 56 minutes with a header against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the 1–1 draw to continue Fulham’s unbeaten record in the Barclays Premier League.
On June 12, 2010, Dempsey became the second American (after Brian McBride) to score in more than one World Cup when he scored the equalizer goal against England in the Americans’ first game of the 2010 World Cup after the England goalkeeper Robert Green made a major error. Dempsey’s disallowed goal later in the tournament against Algeria in the group stage was very controversial. Dempsey was called offside, but the replay showed that he was most likely not offside. Despite this call, his teammate Landon Donovan scored a late stoppage time goal to win the game 1–0.
Dempsey is known for his versatility and ability to play either as a forward, winger or attacking midfielder, depending on the formation. As a result, he has been categorized interchangeably as a forward or midfielder, as evidenced in the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup squads where he was classified as a forward (FW) in the latter tournament and a midfielder (MF) in the former. During his time in Fulham, he established himself as goal-scorer who is able to score with both his head and feet, especially during important matches. Critics have described him as “audacious” due to his penchant for the odd “wonder goal” and reputation as “the guy who walked onto the field and started doing backheels”, leading former national team coach Bruce Arena to say of him, “He tries shit.”
On January 22, 2011, Dempsey scored another double versus Stoke City, putting Fulham temporarily out of relegation contention.
Dempsey broke Fulham’s Premier League goalscoring record by netting twice in a 3–0 victory over Bolton on April 27, 2011. He has scored a total of 33 goals for the team in the Premier League, topping both Brian McBride and Steed Malbranque, each with 32. With these goals, he scored 12 goals for Fulham in the 2010–11 season.
On December 5, 2011, Dempsey scored in the 85th minute to secure a 1–0 win against Liverpool at Craven Cottage. The goal propelled Dempsey to become the most prolific U.S. goalscorer in the Premier League, passing Fulham legend and fellow American Brian McBride. Dempsey scored his fifth Premier League goal of the campaign with a header in a 2–0 home win against Bolton on December 17, lifting his side six points clear of the drop zone.
During the 2011 Gold Cup, Dempsey played a key role in helping the United States advance to the final. In the group stages he recorded a goal in a 2–0 win over Canada, and in the quarter-finals, Dempsey also scored a goal in a 2–0 win over Jamaica. In the semi-finals against Panama, who had shockingly defeated the United States 1–2 in the group stage, Dempsey scored the only goal to advance the Americans to the final. With a sliding touch Dempsey redirected Landon Donovan’s pass into the net.
In the club’s West London derby against rivals Chelsea on Boxing Day, Dempsey scored the equalizing goal as the game ended in a 1–1 draw. Dempsey became only the second American to post a hat trick in the FA Cup behind Chris Cleary with the first hat-trick of his career on January 7 against Charlton Athletic in their FA Cup Third Round game that ended in a 4–0 victory. On January 21, 2012, Dempsey scored his first Premier League hat-trick against Newcastle while the game ended in a 5–2 win for Fulham and sent his goal tally in the Premier League to nine for the season.
With his hat-trick against Newcastle, he became the first ever U.S. player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. Dempsey scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season, sixteenth in all competitions, in a 1–1 draw against former manager Roy Hodgson’s West Brom on February 1, 2012.
Dempsey “assisted” another goal in a 2–1 win against Stoke City on February 11, 2012. His 28th-minute shot hit the crossbar and was deflected by Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen. It was therefore awarded as an own goal off the goalie. His form this season continued against Wolverhampton Wanderers where Dempsey scored twice in a 5–0 victory for Fulham.
On March 8, 2012, the day before Dempsey’s 29th birthday, Fulham manager Martin Jol revealed that the club had opened talks with the North American over a new three-year contract.
On August 31, 2012, Fulham confirmed Dempsey’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
On August 31, 2012, Dempsey joined Tottenham Hotspur on a three-year contract for a fee believed to be in the region of $9 million.
On February 29, 2012, Dempsey scored the lone goal in an international friendly win against four-time World champion Italy. Jozy Altidore assisted on the goal, allowing the United States to win for the first time against Italy in eleven games played since 1934.
Dempsey broke his own fastest-goal record in World Cup qualifying on September 7, scoring just 39 seconds into a 2–1 defeat against Jamaica in Kingston. During a qualifying match against Guatemala on October 16, 2012, Dempsey scored his 29th and 30th international goal, tying him with Brian McBride for third most goals scored for the United States national team. The goals helped the United States advance into the final qualifying stage for the 2014 World Cup.
On January 20, 2013, in driving snow at White Hart Lane against league leaders Manchester United, Dempsey was able to salvage a dramatic 1–1 draw for Spurs by slotting home a pass from Aaron Lennon in the 93rd minute. The goal was his fourth in four appearances in 2013. On January 27, 2013, Dempsey scored a looping header against Leeds United at Elland Road, in the FA Cup to bring the score to 2–1, however Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t draw level throughout the rest of the game, leaving the result at 2–1 to Leeds at the whistle.
Dempsey was unable to make an impression against his old club on March 17, when Fulham came away from White Hart Lane with a 1–0 victory. On April 21, he scored the first of three goals for Tottenham in a 3–1 win over Manchester City at White Hart Lane. On May 12, Dempsey scored a long range goal and added an assist while playing against Stoke City to help Spurs win 2–1 and keep them in contention for the fourth Champions League spot. On April 11, 2013, Dempsey scored two goals against FC Basel in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-finals to send the match into extra time. Tottenham eventually lost the match on penalties and thus were eliminated from the competition.
On August 3, 2013, Dempsey signed with MLS club Seattle Sounders FC as a Designated Player on a four-year contract, for a transfer fee of $9 million. He again donned the number 2 shirt, forgoing the number 8 he usually wears for the United States and the number 23 he wore at Fulham. The previous user of the number 2 shirt, DeAndre Yedlin, moved to number 17. Dempsey made his league debut for Seattle on August 10, 2013 in a 2–1 victory over Toronto. Dempsey entered the match as a 34th-minute substitute after Obafemi Martins came off with an ankle injury.
On December 24, 2013, Dempsey re-signed with Fulham on a two-month loan. He made his return debut on January 4, 2014 in the Third Round of the FA Cup against Norwich City. Dempsey played the entire game which resulted in a 1–1 draw, and subsequently took part in the replay at Craven Cottage, a 3–0 victory for Fulham.
In March 2013, Dempsey was given the captain’s armband by Jürgen Klinsmann for the important World Cup qualifying matches versus Costa Rica and Mexico. On June 2, 2013, Dempsey scored two goals against Germany in a 4–3 win. The goals were his 34th and 35th overall for the national team, surpassing Eric Wynalda as second all-time top-goalscorer for the United States. Dempsey became the 14th American to reach 100 caps on September 6, 2013, netting a penalty in a 3–1 away defeat to Costa Rica in a qualifier.
Although no announcement was made by Fulham, Dempsey appeared in the Seattle squad to face Sporting Kansas City in the season opener on March 10, 2014. Dempsey had made a return to form, scoring a hat-trick against Portland Timbers, and recording braces against FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, leaving his goal tally at 8 in 5 games for 2014. He earned the MLS’s Player of the Month award for April. Both Dempsey’s 15 goals and 10 assists were MLS career highs, as Seattle won the Supporters’ Shield, but were eliminated in the conference finals of the MLS Cup by eventual champions LA Galaxy.
In 2014, Dempsey was named as captain of the 23-man United States squad ahead of the FIFA World Cup. On June 16, he scored against Ghana 29 seconds into the group play match. It was the fastest goal in American World Cup history, and fifth fastest goal in all-time World Cup history. With this goal, Dempsey also became the first American player to score in three consecutive World Cups. Dempsey went on to suffer a broken nose midway through the first half as the United States defeated Ghana 2–1. In the following match against Portugal, Dempsey notched his fourth World Cup goal in a 2–2 draw. This goal drew Dempsey level with Bert Patenaude as the second-highest goalscoring American in the World Cup, one behind Landon Donovan.
On June 16, 2015 in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against rivals the Portland Timbers, Dempsey was sent off for ripping up referee Daniel Radford’s notebook in protest at the dismissal of Michael Azira. The Sounders finished the match with seven men through three dismissals and an injury, and lost 1–3 at home. For the incident, he was given a three-match MLS suspension and a fine, and banned from the Open Cup for two years in addition to a second fine.
Before the 2015 Gold Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann gave Michael Bradley the captain’s armband, in wake of the U.S. Open Cup incident.
On July 13, 2016, Dempsey picked up his first MLS red card after putting his hands in the face of FC Dallas midfielder Juan Esteban Ortiz, who came in with a late challenge on Dempsey. Earlier in the game, Dempsey scored and provided an assist on Jordan Morris’s goal. On August 7, he scored a hat-trick against Orlando City to capture their second road victory of the 2016 season. Dempsey played his last game of the season on August 21 against Portland, picking up a brace in the 3–1 win while simultaneously setting a franchise record for the most goals by a player against one team in MLS play, with the goals being his 7th and 8th. While his absence in Seattle’s next game at Houston was a scheduled rest, Dempsey was sidelined with an irregular heartbeat ahead of their Cascadia rivalry tie in Portland.
In June 2016, Dempsey started all three group stage games of the Copa América Centenario. Against Costa Rica he recorded his 50th international goal, and against Paraguay he recorded his 51st international goal to help the U.S. finish first in the group and advance to the quarterfinals. The U.S. were eliminated in the semi-finals by Argentina. In the quarterfinal win over Ecuador, Dempsey scored the opening goal and assisted on the second goal, which was scored by Zardes.
Dempsey’s first goal during qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was scored in the 4–0 victory by the U.S. over Guatemala on March 29, 2016, at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. He also earned an assist on the fourth goal of the evening, scored by Jozy Altidore.
On March 24, 2017, during the final round of qualification, Dempsey scored a hat trick in the 6–0 victory by the U.S. over Honduras, one goal from a free kick and the other two assisted by Christian Pulisic at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA. Four days after that, on March 28, he scored the U.S.’s lone goal, again assisted by Pulisic, in a 1–1 draw with Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City.
Dempsey was named to the 40-man preliminary roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup by head coach Bruce Arena on June 3, 2017.
He announced his retirement from soccer on August 29, 2018.
Currently, Clint Dempsey is 39 years, 5 months and 8 days old. Clint Dempsey will celebrate 40th birthday on a Thursday 9th of March 2023.
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