Clint Dempsey on Wednesday announced his retirement from professional soccer, calling time on a legendary 15-year playing career that saw him star in both MLS and EPL, as well as with the US national team.
Dempsey, 35, made 186 appearances in MLS, scoring 72 goals and registering 42 assists between stints with the New England Revolution (2004-06) and Seattle Sounders (2013-18). Dempsey was limited to just 902 minutes this season due to injuries, with his last appearance coming on July 25.
"After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game," said Dempsey. "I'd like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I've worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I'm grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. Men's National Team. Y'all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember."
Dempsey won 2016 MLS Cup with Seattle, though was sidelined from August of that season due to an irregular heartbeat. He was able to return in 2017, leading the Sounders back to another MLS Cup final.
"When Clint arrived in Seattle in 2013, in many ways it was a defining moment for our club," said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. "His signing represented a new era in Major League Soccer, allowing our country's most accomplished player to return home and drive the game to new heights domestically. Five years later, there's no doubt in my mind that Clint helped us achieve that, both on the field surrounding our club's success over the past several seasons, and in our community. In particular, I know many were inspired by Clint's resolve in returning to the field last season from a major health issue, and that character is something I'll remember most about him. Clint is a fighter, and he'll always be a Sounder. We thank him for all he's done for our sport."
At the international level, Dempsey is a legend. He scored 57 goals, tied for most in USMNT history with Landon Donovan and his 141 caps are third-most in USMNT history. He appeared in three World Cups, scoring four goals.
Dempsey won three Gold Cups with the United States and finished runner-up in the 2009 Confederations Cup.
Between Dempsey's time with the Revolution and Sounders, he embarked on a hugely successful stint in Europe. He first went to Fulham in 2007, scoring 60 goals in 220 appearances in his six seasons with the club. He helped lead the Cottagers to a Europa League final in 2009/10, including a memorable goal for Fulham to beat Italian giants Juventus.
"As far as I'm concerned, Clint Dempsey is the greatest player in the history of our country," said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. "His mark on both our club and the United States Men's National Team is indelible, and his hard-earned reputation as a trailblazer for our nation in Europe helped pave the way for generations of future of Americans abroad. His service to our game deserves special recognition, and we know our fans will give him that prior to Saturday's match at CenturyLink Field."
In 2012, Dempsey earned a transfer to Tottenham after nearly signing for Liverpool. He scored 12 goals in 42 appearances for the Spurs in his only season with them before returning to MLS.
Dempsey was Fulham's Player of the Season in 2010/11 and 2011/12, three-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, four-time MLS All-Star, 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year and 2017 MLS Comeback Player of the Year.