(Sports Network) - It was only one year ago that Clint Dempsey was trying to
negotiate a move from Fulham to a team with Champions League ambitions.
Dempsey was coming off of a season in which he led Fulham with 17 goals in
league play, but he had, in his estimation, become a bigger fish in need of a
The United States international was attempting to secure a move away from
Craven Cottage to a team that he felt could compete for a Champions League
place to further his development.
He ended up at Tottenham, and although Spurs fell just short of reaching
Europe's premier club competition, Dempsey did enough to prove that he
belonged at the highest level.
So maybe that is why just one year later, Dempsey's move back to Major League
Soccer to play for Seattle Sounders FC came as such a shock over the weekend.
His future at Tottenham seemed to be murky after a season in which he failed
to hold down a consistent place in the team under manager Andre Villas-Boas.
The 30-year-old managed to score seven goals with four assists in 29 league
games for Spurs, but the team appears to be heading in another direction this
summer with the arrivals of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho and Valencia forward
Based on his production at Fulham, Dempsey would certainly have had other
chances to remain in the Premier League, although maybe not with a Champions
But instead he chose to return to MLS - where he began his career with the New
England Revolution in 2004 - to play for the Sounders, much to the surprise of
the soccer world.
Since its inception in 1996, MLS has been a place for young talent to develop,
offering a chance for players to make a name for themselves before shipping
off to bigger leagues if they have what it takes.
Lately, the league has also been a landing place for European stars like
Thierry Henry and David Beckham who are in the twilight of their career and
looking to play out the final stretch in comfort, sort of like the elderly
flocking to Florida or Arizona.
But Dempsey doesn't fall into either category, rather he is a top
international player for the U.S. in his prime.
The World Cup is less than one year away and it would seem that the best way
to prepare for the tournament would be to face the best opposition on a
Dempsey might not have received regular playing time at Tottenham this
upcoming season, but he could have found a home elsewhere in the Premier
League to keep his skills sharp.
Instead, he will return to a league that is viewed mostly as a stepping stone
to Europe, where he spent the past six years.
The Texas native is certainly entitled to play where he wants, yet it seems a
curious move for someone who appeared so focused on playing in the Champions
League just one year ago.
Dempsey's move to Seattle will give him a chance to play regularly in front of
a passionate fan base in his native country while being well compensated for
He will reportedly make upwards of $4 million a season for the next four
years, with some reports suggesting that figure is closer to $8 million.
Maybe Dempsey feels as though he has already proven himself in England having
scored 60 times in five-plus seasons at Fulham with another seven goals at
Tottenham last term.
The move to Seattle will give him the chance to put down roots, offering
comfort for his family and plenty of financial security.
Those things are important to any man, so from that standpoint the move makes
However, you have to wonder what the competitor in Dempsey is feeling right
now, knowing he still has the goods to play at the highest level.
The Sports Network