[USA MEN] The USA has completed the first five days of preparations for the World Cup at Stanford University. All butJermaine Jones and Aron Johannsson, whose European seasons ended over the weekend, were in camp on Sunday. It will be another four weeks before the USA plays its first game and 10 days after that before it knows whether it will be through to the second round. That's a lot of time away from home, but U.S. captain Clint Dempsey says it is a small price to pay.
U.S. World Cup Experience:
12 Landon Donovan
6 Clint Dempsey
"That's the way things in life are sometimes," Dempsey said in his first meeting with the media since arriving in camp at Stanford. "When you're working hard towards something, you have to sacrifice other things. It's difficult. Growing up, I never went to prom because I always had tournaments or something to do.
"Now, I'm missing Father's Day, missing kids' birthdays. When you have kids and you're gone for four or five weeks and they're young, like 1 years old, you're missing milestones they are accomplishing, maybe missing when they first start walking. You might be lucky if you get to see it on FaceTime or Skype or something like that. It's part of what comes with it.
"At the end of the day, being able to provide for your family and get paid in a great way is pretty special. It's not something I am going to do for the rest of my life so I just try to maximize my career and make the most of it."
Dempsey entered camp as one of the hottest players in MLS with eight goals for the Seattle Sounders, who lead the Supporters' Shield race. That's in sharp contrast to the one goal -- scored on the final day of the regular season -- he had after joining Seattle from Tottenham in August 2013.
Instead of resting after the MLS season, he played through injuries he picked up in Seattle and joined his old London club, Fulham, in mid-December for training and then played on loan for January and February. Dempsey didn't score any goal for Fulham, which made two coaching changes when he was at Craven Cottage and ended up being relegated, but the experience was beneficial.
"l had to keep pushing, keep fighting," he said. "And I thought that would be the best kind of preparation for myself to start the [2014 MLS] season off right. And I think you can see it helped me. And Jurgen [Klinsmann] also agreed that was the right decision to make."
U.S. World Cup Captains:
This is Dempsey's third World Cup after Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 at which he was the only American to score in both tournaments. He was named national team captain in March 2013.
Dempsey goal vs. Ghana (2006):
Dempsey goal vs. England (2010):
"It's a honor to be the captain," he says, "a privilege, working together with the team, trying to get on the same page and accomplishing something great in your life."
Dempsey's advice to teammates on the 30-player short list trying to make their first World Cup team?
"You have to approach it like it's your last," he says. "You don't get many opportunities to play in a World Cup and you never know if that opportunity will come again."
"Do everything you can to break into the team. Do everything you can to make the most of it so you can look back and tell your grandkids about it. We want to go down there and shake things up."