Clint aka “Deuce” Dempsey is headed back to American Soil. The MLS' Seattle Sounders have all but finalized a deal to bring the American striker back to Major League Soccer where the Texan got his start. The former Furman, Revolution, and Fulham star fell out of favor with Andres Villas-Boas at Tottenham in London, England and was rumored to be on the transfer block a few months ago. This begs the question, “Is it a good idea for the second leading goal scorer in US National team history to return to his roots?” Only time will tell for the #2 wearing rebel.
Even though many are hailing the move as a good career step for Dempsey and a sign of the strength of the MLS, I personally am not in favor of it. Besides Landon Donovan, Dempsey is the international face of US Soccer. Now, our two best stars are playing stateside instead of enduring more daily pressure at solid European clubs overseas?. The MLS is on the right track to becoming a legitimate league but most Europeans and soccer analysts alike - continue to question the American league's competitiveness and ability to prepare its players for top level competitions. Why wouldn't Dempsey look for another European club to play for, especially since many England teams had him high on their radar after seeing Tottenham's recent signings (Hotspurs recently brought in Paulinho and Soldado so Deuce's presence continued to be questioned)?
Now, what does Jurgen Klinsmann think of Dempsey's move to the Sounders? There's no questioning that we all believe Seattle is a great MLS franchise. The city and its owners/fans have fully embraced its arrival to the MLS and its rambunctious fans pack every MLS and US qualifier match that's held at CenturyLink field. That being said, Klinsmann wants US players to get as much playing time as possible. Deuce knows that returning to the MLS will allow him to always get that starting nod and feature prominently on the squad on a daily basis. There's a give and take here though. I strongly believe that we still want our top national team players playing in the top European leagues like the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, etc. The USA as a footballing country has made strides since the creation of the MLS and recent success while playing against international foes, but in a World Cup qualifying year, was this the best move for Deuce? And, he must realize that the US still has a ways to go to compare to other footballing nations, especially having been a part of the UK's vibrant footballing atmosphere for the last 7 years, RIGHT??
Dempsey will reportedly earn around 8-9 million dollars a year after his transfer is finalized from Tottenham to Seattle. He will clearly be the MLS' highest paid player and will be a nice complement to Eddie Johnson on the Sounders' attacking front. Everyone loves to see top level players on fun teams so this is a positive situation for everyone involved. However, will this decision properly prepare Deuce for the upcoming World Cup? Could he still be loaned to an EPL team during the winter transfer period to continue to train/play at a high level? I think many of these questions will remain unanswered for a while. I'm happy that Deuce enjoyed 7 glorious seasons in the EPL but his return to the MLS will be bittersweet and is still very shocking to me.
Dempsey is still in his prime playing years, and as recently as last summer told us he ways wanted to play champions league football and improve his game. In fact, he has been voted one of the best EPL players for the last couple of years, but none of that really matters for his future team and new situation. Except, you know that he'll get the respect he deserves and will feature as one of the top players who the younger dudes can look up to. BUT HOW DOES HIS MOVE HELP US SOCCER AND GET YOUNG U.S. STARS TO MOVE ABROAD AND TRY OUT WITH TOP EUROPEAN CLUBS??