TUKWILA, Wash. – Clint Dempsey is ready to start focusing on soccer.
Since the official announcement that he was signing with the Seattle Sounders about a week-and-a-half ago, Dempsey has been on a virtually nonstop media tour that was seemingly only interrupted by playing soccer. The crescendo came on Monday, when he sat for more than a dozen interviews in New York City with outlets, including Sports Illustrated, Good Morning America and National Public Radio.
“Never experienced that,” Dempsey said of the media blitz. “But it’s good for the league and for the team. Any type of attention gets our team name out there a little bit more and hopefully we’ll have more fans.”
Although it would have been ideal to get Dempsey some extra training days with his new team, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid acknowledged this was probably the right time for it to happen.
“We always have an option to say no,” Schmid said. “From the standpoint of what they were trying to set up, we were in Toronto anyway, it made sense.
“We try to get some of the things out of the way. He wants to get to playing, he wants to concentrate on that. But it’s part of what the game is all about. It’s part of what his signing is all about. I think it’s a good advert for the league. We all have to be good soldiers in that respect.”
With all of that done and dusted, Dempsey was clearly happy to be back training with his new teammates on Wednesday.
“I enjoy playing football, that’s what I want to do,” he said.
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Dempsey can now start working on getting integrated into a team that is playing some of its best soccer. The Sounders are riding a four-game unbeaten streak in which they’ve captured 10 points and are now back in a playoff spot.
That was part of why he was perfectly happy to be left off the US national team roster for Wednesday's friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“It’s good to be with the club team,” Dempsey said. “I need to get acclimated as soon as possible. I need to make sure that we get the right results and make the playoffs. If you don’t make the playoffs, you don’t have a chance to win a MLS Cup. It’s good to be here and try to help this team do that and try to get that fitness and that sharpness.”