[MLS SPOTLIGHT] For two years, Seattle Sounders management would inquire with Clint Dempsey's agent about his status. And the response from Lyle Yorks was always the same. "No chance. No chance. No chance." Even this summer as rumors circulated that Tottenham was ready to deal the U.S. national team captain, the response Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer got was the same. "No chance." All that changed a few weeks. Dempsey's response when an offer to move to the Sounders came? "For sure."
Dempsey had already begun preseason training with Spurs and traveled with it to Hong Kong, but he said timing was right for a move.
"I've been in
Europe for six and a half years," he said, "and I just wanted to come home. Each year was getting more difficult to go back. I was already starting to get the itch. And I think everything just has to
do with timing. The Seattle Sounders moved mountains to get me here. It was an opportunity to come back when I was in my prime and continue growth in the league and it's a challenge."
Timing was right specifically for a move to the Sounders as Dempsey's
recent trip to Seattle with the U.S. national team ended up impacting greatly his decision:
-- He was impressed with the fans and city when the USA played Panama in June. The night the
team arrived in town from Jamaica, the Sounders were playing Vancouver, and as he had walked to dinner, he was amazed that bars and restaurants were filled with fans watching the Sounders' game.
"You say, 'Wow!'" he said. "I never thought I'd see the day. I grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas, where it was like, 'What are you doing playing soccer?'"
-- During his stay in
Seattle, Sounders keeper Marcus Hahnemann, who had played with Dempsey on the national team, took Brad Davis, Stuart Holden and Dempsey out fishing.
"I foul-hooked a minnow," said Dempsey, who loves fishing.
Dempsey said he had no regrets about
leaving the Premier League and wanted his children to be able to grow up in the United States and have the same experiences he had.
"Everybody is their own man," he said.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said any decision on where and how long Dempsey would play Saturday at Toronto FC would be made after practice this week.
The Sounders will be away the next two weeks and then play archrival Portland Aug. 25 at home. What was already big home game just got bigger. Seattle has already sold more than 60,000 tickets for
Dempsey's first game at CenturyLink Field.
Dempsey Press Conference: