By Paul Kennedy
Perhaps no player on the Seattle Sounders knows better
what Jordan Morris
facing in deciding whether he'll join the Sounders or German club Werder Bremen -- Werder says MLS has won out
-- than Clint Dempsey
Dempsey was only two years
older than the 21-year-old Morris -- but with three years of pro experience -- when he moved to England to play for Fulham in 2007.
"Everyone has to find his own path," he says of the
choice between MLS and Europe, "find what's best for him, in terms of what they want out of life, in terms of what they want out of soccer."
Dempsey is clearly partisan to MLS, grateful
for what MLS has offered him -- from a chance to play with the New England Revolution out of Furman University and return in 2013 with the Sounders on the highest salary in MLS history.
"MLS gave me the opportunity to go pro," he said, "which allowed me to break into the national team, allowed me to achieve my dream of playing in a World Cup, allowed me the opportunity to play in
Europe, and ultimately the opportunity to come back here."
Dempsey says that moving to a foreign club is in some ways no different than going to college away from home. But he says the
time difference makes it much harder to stay in touch with family and the distance makes it harder for them to get over to see him.
"I was lucky," he says. "I had a team like Fulham which
gave me an opportunity and had some great years with, some of the best memories of my football career."
Dempsey has never been on the field at the same time as Morris, who has seven caps
with the national team, but he has trained with Morris in Seattle during summers.
"He brings energy, athleticism," said Dempsey. "He works really hard. From the few interactions that I've
had with him, he's a good kid."
Morris will join a Sounders' attack that's already one of the deepest in MLS with Obafemi Martins
, Nelson Valdez
and Dempsey, who says it
will be up to Sounders coach Sigi Schmid
to bring out the best of the team.
"There's always room for attacking players," he said. "It's up to the manager to figure out who he
should play and what formation to use."
Dempsey was available for the MLS Media Days because he has not been called into the U.S. national team (currently in training camp) by head coach
since the Concacaf Cup in October.
Has he been in touch with Klinsmann?
"We've sent texts to each other here and there."
Will he be
"You have to ask him. He's the coach."
Dempsey, who turns 33 in March, says he is realistic about his future with the national team though he admitted he'd love
to play in the USA-hosted Copa America -- a tournament he followed as a kid on Spanish-language television.
"I don't worry about it," he said. "All I can do is focus on is playing. If
you're not playing well or not fit, you're not going to get an opportunity to be called in. I've enjoyed my time with the national team. I've had a good career. Hopefully, it will continue. It's not
in my hands to decide that."
Dempsey said all he can do is put himself in a position to show coaches that he can perform, which he says he did in 2015 for the national team and
"I played 10 games and scored nine goals," he said, reeling off his national team stats. "I had a pretty good return for Seattle: in 22 games, 12 goals and 10 assists. Even
though I had some injuries, I had good numbers."