SEATTLE — When deciding whether or not to accept the Seattle Sounders’ contract offer, Clint Dempsey talked to a lot of people – from his parents to his brother to his wife.
One person he didn’t talk to: United States national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“I haven't had the opportunity to really sit down and talk to him about everything that is going on,” Dempsey said during his introductory press conference on Monday. “I've been busy with my family and really thinking about the decision and trying to make the best decision possible for us. It's something that we will talk about.
“I think everybody has a right to their opinion and what they think is best for the future, whether that's with the national team, whether that's with your career. You also have to do the same for yourself. Everyone is their own man. It's not something I made a quick decision on. I really thought about it.”
Dempsey seemed to think ultimately that Klinsmann wouldn’t mark the decision as a negative. Klinsmann has, after all, made several MLS players key contributors on the full national team, including Dempsey’s new Sounders teammates Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans.
WATCH: Clint Dempsey half-time interview
“I'm still going to have that pressure to succeed, pushing me every day to be the best player I can be and help the team be the best that they can be,” Dempsey said. “I'm not going to let up, slow down or slack. I'm going to keep pushing myself and keep working hard and making the most of where I'm at.
“I'm happy to be here in Seattle. We'll have those discussions, but from my standpoint I don't see there being a difference there. There's still players in MLS that get called into camp and they still perform at a high level. I expect to be able to do the same.”
The possibility of returning to Europe is still on the table – and Dempsey’s contract reportedly allows for just that, a one-off loan – but he also said he is looking at his move to MLS as a long-term one.
“I wanted to come back when I was in my prime,” he said. “I had a good time in Europe. I did some great things there.
“I look back with no regrets.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com.