MLS and US men's national team legend Clint Dempsey went through a range of emotions during his National Soccer Hall of Fame acceptance speech Saturday evening, but none more revealing than when he thanked his whole family for the sacrifices they made.
The former USMNT star broke down when giving thanks to his grandparents, who taught him important lessons during his upbringing about saving money and looking beyond just the present.
That valuable wisdom carried over to the field and taught the 2022 Hall of Fame inductee how to be patient when planning his time of attack.
"I knew that you had to play simply at the times and put in the hard work, but every now and then when you got into the attacking third, it's like taking a withdrawal out that you could [use] to take people on," Dempsey said.
Dempsey also gave warm thanks to his mother and father. As a kid, the former New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders FC forward's parents would drive him on a six-hour round trip from Nacogdoches, Texas to Dallas so he could practice with the Dallas Texans, an elite youth club in the state.
It was a task that might have seemed "crazy," but a sacrifice that most certainly paid off in the end, as Dempsey embarked on his illustrious career.
Dempsey is one of the most decorated American soccer players in history, scoring 72 goals and registering 42 assists in 186 MLS appearances between stints with New England (2004-06) and Seattle (2013-18).
In between his time with the Revs and Sounders, the now-39-year-old had a successful stint in Europe, starting with Fulham, where he scored 60 goals in 220 appearances across six seasons (2007-12), and then with Tottenham, where he bagged 12 goals in 43 appearances for the Spurs in one season (2012-13) before returning to MLS.
At the international level, Dempsey scored 57 goals, tied for most in USMNT history with Landon Donovan, while his 141 caps are third-most in USMNT history. He played in three World Cups, scoring four goals.