Clint Dempsey retires

ThePrideofShiner

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Not sure if this deserves its own thread or not, but Clint Dempsey announced his retirement effective immediately just now.

He hadn't been playing, but this still comes as a big surprise to me.
 

cromulence

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I just posted this yesterday in the thread about how you found your Premier League team, but it has to be here too. Clint helped get me into soccer. Damn, I wanted him to pass Landon.

 

Zomp

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I think Dempsey is the best, but I could be talked into Landon. Dempsey's CV is better due to his Premier League stint but I could see the argument that Landon's peak was higher.

I used to see Dempsey play in person when he was with the Revs and he was so much better than anyone in the league. His World Cup display in 2006 (has it been 12 years already?), catapulted him and gave him the confidence to play in Europe and he had a very successful career with Fulham.
 

SoxFanInCali

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I was at the Gold Cup Final against Jamaica last year. Jordan Morris scored late to win it for the US, but a couple of minutes before that Dempsey nearly scored what would have been not only the winner, but the goal that would break Donovan's record. As it turns out, he never scored for the US again, so Deuce and Landycakes are tied at the top with 57.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Deuce was a the bigger player, on bigger stages. He had both grit and moxie - a combination rare to find among US players.
I'm comfortable saying he's the best outfield player in US history.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Deuce was a the bigger player, on bigger stages.
I disagree with the bigger stages. They were pretty similar at the World Cup and Confederations Cup. Julian Green has more knockout stage goals than Dempsey.

Dempsey was an excellent player. The US national team has been missing what he brought them for several years. I think he has the mentality to be a manager. I hope he doesn’t go quietly into retirement. The sport in the US still needs his personality.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Donovan was the far more talented player but Deuce maximized his talent in ways that LD was unable or unwilling to do and had the more impressive career on balance.

I agree with VT that I'd love to see Dempsey get into managing and/or somehow remain in the mix in US soccer.
 

lars10

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Deuce was a the bigger player, on bigger stages. He had both grit and moxie - a combination rare to find among US players.
I'm comfortable saying he's the best outfield player in US history.
How quickly we forget how good Donovan was.


Donovan is also an Oliver Kahn away from having gone to a WC semifinal.

Deuce was great and I don't think you can go wrong with either player. I do think you can argue though that Klinsmann stole the WC from us that should have showcased Deuce and Donovan. Donovan even with his self exiles still was one of our best goal chance creators leading up to the WC.

It's hard to look at players across eras and in different positions..but you kind of have to look at goalkeepers for best US player..or look at other positions/players/eras as well when US players weren't given as many opportunities overseas. Howard, Keller, Friedel, Ramos, Reyna and McBride are all up there as well...but Dempsey is probably better than them all, but I think you could make an argument for at least Howard since he played for the bigger club.

Edit: missed the 'outfield' part of your post.. was more responding to the previous post saying he was the best USMNT player in history.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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I personally am in the Landon Donovan camp as far as who was the better player, but I know lots of folks who prefer Dempsey. Figure the folks who have watched US soccer longer than me would offer some insight and you folks have done just that.
 

Kliq

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Dempsey was a very dependable goal scorer for the national team during a time where so many people came through the ranks that potentially could have been top scorers, but never reached their potential .

Also, I'll love him for heading the ball in with his dick against Portugal.

 

Vinho Tinto

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How quickly we forget how good Donovan was.
That goal is so legendary, it overshadows the tight angle goal vs Slovenia that began the comeback. He also scored the penalty to tie Ghana and send that match to penalties. Landon Donovan is a weird guy, but he showed up for big spots.
 

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I was going to post the goal vs. Juventus but I was beaten to it.

Dempsey had an amazing career for the positional tweener that he was, thanks to to his talent, grit, and swagger. He played CM at the very beginning of his career with the Revs at times, but mostly spent time on the wing or as a withdrawn striker over the years. His tweener-ness made him not a particularly natural fit for any one position, and as a result every manager he had in Fulham initially benched him. But he always proved them wrong and became a key first-teamer. His 17 goal season for Fulham in the 2011/12 EPL season was fantastic. His US-record 57 EPL goals is not in danger of being broken any time soon.

Part of what made Dempsey a US legend was his quiet intensity. One of the legendary moments of his club career was the time he was sent off in extra time in a Seattle-Portland US Open Cup game for grabbing the notebook out of the ref's hands and ripping it up.

As Dempsey faded away from a central role with the USMNT, his intensity and bite was sorely missed by what had become a very soft US team. In his prime years, he scored in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 WCs with four goals in all.



"I just want to score goals and go fishing." — Clint Dempsey.

I don't expect him to stay around the game in any capacity. Clint's going to buy some land somewhere out West and we'll never hear from him again.

I could be wrong, of course.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I personally am in the Landon Donovan camp as far as who was the better player, but I know lots of folks who prefer Dempsey. Figure the folks who have watched US soccer longer than me would offer some insight and you folks have done just that.
I’ve given the nod to Donovan. Until Pulisic, he was our most gifted offensive talent. Barring injury, Pulisic will be head and shoulders ahead of every prior American player when his career is over.
 
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Count me in the Deuce category and to me the difference was simply. With Clint I never felt as if anything was left on the table. Landon was the more talented but Clint had the attitude I always wish Landon had. Things always needed to be perfect for Landon to excel while Clint would show up and feel like he was the best player in a game against Columbus or Germany. I say all of this knowing how good Landon really was but this always bothered me about him and might be simply that I wanted more out of Landon than I did Clint from the onset.
 

dirtynine

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Dempsey and Donovan are the yin and yang of why I love the USMNT. Clint brought needed swagger and determination to the team along with, at his peak, unique talent. I hope Pulisic is a combo of the best parts of each.

Deuce face, Juventus goal, the Europa run with Fulham, the goal vs. Liverpool that kept them in the PL, scoring against Ghana on the counter in ‘06, against England in 2010 (you gotta make them make the plays!) and Ghana in the first 30 seconds in ‘14. Getting in a brawl against the Fire, for the Revs, ina conference final (‘02?) that I attended. I’m missing MLS highlights and probably a host of US highlights. And a rap single or too. What an entertaining, talented player.
 

Titans Bastard

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Dempsey and Donovan are the yin and yang of why I love the USMNT. Clint brought needed swagger and determination to the team along with, at his peak, unique talent. I hope Pulisic is a combo of the best parts of each.
The Donovan-Dempsey-Altidore-Davies front four that existed circa 2009 was probably the best US attack we've ever had. Shame about the car crash.
 

Vinho Tinto

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There was never an American team where everything was perfect. They ended up with the same number of goals. Donovan preferred living in the US, so he didn’t play much in Europe. He can be a really strange guy in general. I never gotten the sense he didn’t give his 100% when he played, nor did he need the team to be built to support him. He played well in big tournaments and won 8 trophies in MLS. Until Wondolowski passes him, he’s the All-time leading scorer in his country’s domestic league.

Preferring Dempsey makes a lot of sense to me, but he had his flaws too. He excelled at Fulham, not Real Madrid. His accomplishments shouldn’t be exaggerated, just as Donovan’s shouldn’t be ignored.

It should be noted that the best players on the 2002 and 2010 World Cup teams were the keepers (Friedel and Howard).
 

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That goal is so legendary, it overshadows the tight angle goal vs Slovenia that began the comeback. He also scored the penalty to tie Ghana and send that match to penalties. Landon Donovan is a weird guy, but he showed up for big spots.
This is the one single moment that transformed me from footy-curious to a fan. I was watching this game. USA was down 2-0 at half. I knew almost nothing about soccer except that it was low scoring and I figured the USA were screwed. Only a minute after the second half started, the Slovenia defender fell, Donovan barged past him, and just brutalized the ball into the top of the net. Sheer force of will. I was like, GODDAMN, it's on.

 

OilCanShotTupac

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On the Dempsey vs Donovan question, it feels like the old debate about consistency versus peak moments. Donovan was capable of more singularly brilliant moments than Dempsey. Dempsey was more consistent. I'm not surprised that Donovan has the better highlight-reel moments at the WC finals. I feel like Dempsey was the more effective player in grinding out unglamorous results away matches in the Hex, for instance.
 

lars10

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On the Dempsey vs Donovan question, it feels like the old debate about consistency versus peak moments. Donovan was capable of more singularly brilliant moments than Dempsey. Dempsey was more consistent. I'm not surprised that Donovan has the better highlight-reel moments at the WC finals. I feel like Dempsey was the more effective player in grinding out unglamorous results away matches in the Hex, for instance.
It’s funny that in the same thread Dempsey is said to have shown up for more big games and also is said to be the more consistent player.

I think this just ignores Donovan’s early years and concentrates too much on the last four years of his career. Donovan passed like hardly any other US player before him. He played a much more international style but didn’t want to play overseas. Donovan saw the field as well or better than any player in US history and had the physical gifts where he could have been a world class player... Dempsey wasn’t the most physically gifted but he worked to get in the best position possible and had a nose for goal. If you could have somehow combined the two.
 

lars10

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The Donovan-Dempsey-Altidore-Davies front four that existed circa 2009 was probably the best US attack we've ever had. Shame about the car crash.
And F Bradley for thinking he simply HAD to find a player to replace Davies with any fast player.
 

coremiller

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How quickly we forget how good Donovan was.


Donovan is also an Oliver Kahn uncalled Torsten Frings handball penalty/red card away from having gone to a WC semifinal.

Deuce was great and I don't think you can go wrong with either player. I do think you can argue though that Klinsmann stole the WC from us that should have showcased Deuce and Donovan. Donovan even with his self exiles still was one of our best goal chance creators leading up to the WC.

It's hard to look at players across eras and in different positions..but you kind of have to look at goalkeepers for best US player..or look at other positions/players/eras as well when US players weren't given as many opportunities overseas. Howard, Keller, Friedel, Ramos, Reyna and McBride are all up there as well...but Dempsey is probably better than them all, but I think you could make an argument for at least Howard since he played for the bigger club.

Edit: missed the 'outfield' part of your post.. was more responding to the previous post saying he was the best USMNT player in history.
FTFY. Yes, It's been 16 years and I'm still bitter. Carry on.
 

teddykgb

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It’s weird to me to see Dempsey described as a hard worker maximizing his talent. He was a really tricky player, especially when he was younger, and probably better 1 v 1 than Donovan. If anything, imo, Clint never reaches his talent because of the aforementioned issues with slotting him in a position. I think he really could have thrived in some of the other systems in place today
 

dirtynine

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This is the one single moment that transformed me from footy-curious to a fan. I was watching this game. USA was down 2-0 at half. I knew almost nothing about soccer except that it was low scoring and I figured the USA were screwed. Only a minute after the second half started, the Slovenia defender fell, Donovan barged past him, and just brutalized the ball into the top of the net. Sheer force of will. I was like, GODDAMN, it's on.


I was at this match. Perhaps the most enjoyable US game I’ve ever attended, more fun than Algeria or (barely) Portugal in 2014.

Aside: Dempsey scoring with his dick against Portugal!

Surrounded by US fans at halftime, the predominant sentiment, fair or not, was that if Donovan was going to captain this team, he had to step up. Not play his normal, kill-them-with-kindness game, but basically Dempsey up. That first goal against Slovenia was a Dempsey style goal - pure grit and “fuck it, I’ll do it myself” which was not Landon’s normal style. He came through, and then again (with Dempsey paving the way) vs. Algeria. As crazy as it sounds I’ve never felt more excited by a US goal than that Donovan strike vs. Slovenia, because it was both so out of character and so necessary.

I loved that particular team. If Davies has stayed healthy I think they would have equaled the achievements ‘02 squad.

Shit, when do qualifiers start?
 

coremiller

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I was at this match. Perhaps the most enjoyable US game I’ve ever attended, more fun than Algeria or (barely) Portugal in 2014.

Aside: Dempsey scoring with his dick against Portugal!

Surrounded by US fans at halftime, the predominant sentiment, fair or not, was that if Donovan was going to captain this team, he had to step up. Not play his normal, kill-them-with-kindness game, but basically Dempsey up. That first goal against Slovenia was a Dempsey style goal - pure grit and “fuck it, I’ll do it myself” which was not Landon’s normal style. He came through, and then again (with Dempsey paving the way) vs. Algeria. As crazy as it sounds I’ve never felt more excited by a US goal than that Donovan strike vs. Slovenia, because it was both so out of character and so necessary.

I loved that particular team. If Davies has stayed healthy I think they would have equaled the achievements ‘02 squad.

Shit, when do qualifiers start?
Davies staying healthy probably still wouldn't have convinced Bob Bradley not to run out Ricardo Clark against Ghana. Yes, I'm still bitter (there's a theme developing here).
 

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And F Bradley for thinking he simply HAD to find a player to replace Davies with any fast player.
Findley sucked, but it was either roll the dice on a forward who could stretch the field with speed or blow up the entire elite counterattacking operation that had been built. Shitty situation either way.

IMO the bigger problem in the latter years of Bradley's tenure is what @coremiller is alluding to — he could never get the central midfield to function effectively. The US was weak defending the central space between the defensive and midfield lines until Klinsmann installed Beckerman as the #6 in the lead up to 2014.

Interestingly, Bradley is taking the "F@#$ It!" approach to CM defense to the next level with LAFC right now. Since the somewhat more defensive-minded Mark-Anthony Kaye was lost for the season, he's experimented with a starting CM pairing of Feilhaber and Nguyen. Bradley certainly has his flaws, but one thing I respect about him is that he's still fiddling and experimenting at age 60. Many managers are set in their ways and fighting the tactical battles of two decades ago at that age.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Dempsey was a very dependable goal scorer for the national team during a time where so many people came through the ranks that potentially could have been top scorers, but never reached their potential .

Also, I'll love him for heading the ball in with his dick against Portugal.

It can't be heading if he's using his dick. It's technically a dicking. Or a dicker? A smashing dicker.
 

lars10

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Findley sucked, but it was either roll the dice on a forward who could stretch the field with speed or blow up the entire elite counterattacking operation that had been built. Shitty situation either way.

IMO the bigger problem in the latter years of Bradley's tenure is what @coremiller is alluding to — he could never get the central midfield to function effectively. The US was weak defending the central space between the defensive and midfield lines until Klinsmann installed Beckerman as the #6 in the lead up to 2014.

Interestingly, Bradley is taking the "F@#$ It!" approach to CM defense to the next level with LAFC right now. Since the somewhat more defensive-minded Mark-Anthony Kaye was lost for the season, he's experimented with a starting CM pairing of Feilhaber and Nguyen. Bradley certainly has his flaws, but one thing I respect about him is that he's still fiddling and experimenting at age 60. Many managers are set in their ways and fighting the tactical battles of two decades ago at that age.
I think for me it was that there was no plan B. Bradley had the talent to do something different.. although of course no time to implement it. I think he just needed to see that the player he wanted to take over for Davies was just in the way. They had a lot of attacking talent..and they just wanted to do the same thing that the US had always done up to that point..kick the ball up and chase. Donovan for one was a player who finally got the ball in midfield and looked to pass through balls rather than kick it over the defense and chase... there have been other players who have added to that since, but I think our coaches general approaches up until 2010 was bunker and kick it out and beat them with speed.

I remember how I felt when I saw the starting lineup with Clark and Findley in there... it just felt like the coach was overthinking it. You knew it wasn't working out, but kept putting it out there.. and then also put a guy in in mid who just didn't belong there that day...
 

lars10

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FTFY. Yes, It's been 16 years and I'm still bitter. Carry on.
Of course the handball sucked.. but I feel like I can still see Donovan one on one with Kahn multiple times that game and Donovan just getting slightly intimidated trying to hit the perfect shot.

I was and am used to the US not getting those calls so I'm not crazy bitter about that handball.. bitter, but normal level of bitterness.
 

67YAZ

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I'd say that Donovan was probably the better player - more technical, better able to control a match - but Dempsey was the player I loved. The swagger, the sweat, the smug confidence to try shit...he played the way we always wanted an American to play.

It's also fantastic that finally we have a real debate about who is the best outfield player in US history. It wasn't too long ago that we'd be tossing around names like Reyna, McBride, Ramos, and Wynalda. No disrespect to those guys, but they were superseded by an even better generation in exactly the same way we expect Pulisic to blow past Donovan & Dempsey. US soccer is on a good trajectory.
 

dirtynine

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I'd say Reyna is at least in the conversation. But for near-constant injury, O'Brien would have been too.
 

lars10

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I'd say that Donovan was probably the better player - more technical, better able to control a match - but Dempsey was the player I loved. The swagger, the sweat, the smug confidence to try shit...he played the way we always wanted an American to play.

It's also fantastic that finally we have a real debate about who is the best outfield player in US history. It wasn't too long ago that we'd be tossing around names like Reyna, McBride, Ramos, and Wynalda. No disrespect to those guys, but they were superseded by an even better generation in exactly the same way we expect Pulisic to blow past Donovan & Dempsey. US soccer is on a good trajectory.
“Ramos, Reyna and McBride are all up there as well”

From my post above.. so not that long ago at all :). Donovan and Dempsey are a different class.. although I think world soccer in general has gotten better. The premiere league as an example is miles ahead of where it was 10-20 years ago. Here’s hoping Pulisic and his generation produce him and another and a squad that can play together. The numbers playing overseas younger is promising.
 

Ed Hillel

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I’m just popping in to mention Tim Howard (discussion has evolved, but original question was best US player).

Limiting the debate to these two, I’d have to go Donovan because I think he offered more outside of the scoring, though Dempsey was a better pure scorer. He also had a better temperment. I wonder if Bergeron and Marchand are fair comparisons here?
 
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Cellar-Door

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I'd put Dempsey over Donovan. He was more effective despite less ability, they are tied for goals with the USMNT, but Donovan was buoyed by taking all the penalties. (10 of 57).

And he has to be credited for a great club career while Donovan was playing MLS in the era when it wasn't even a retirement league, it was basically an adult rec league.

Dempsey was the greatest goalscorer and outfield player in US Soccer history, Donovan was the most talented, but lacked any real desire to be great, where Dempsey was much more driven to prove himself on the biggest stages.