Clint Dempsey - Seattle Sounders - Pensive and alone
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Sounders GM hopes Clint Dempsey will be able to return for training camp

The Seattle Sounders still remain hopeful of getting forward Clint Dempsey back in time for the start of training camp this month.

But in a more cautious tone than the one taken by US national team coach Bruce Arena, who recently said he expected Dempsey to be match-ready by March, the Sounders stressed that they will not rush Dempsey back from the heart issues that have sidelined him since last August.

Dempsey has made progress after an irregular heartbeat shut down his 2016 season, including Seattle's run to their first MLS Cup title, Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC.

Still, Lagerwey said, "Dempsey hasn't played soccer in six months. You don't overcome that in a day or a week. You've got to get fit and play soccer and all those kinds of things. We'll be carefully monitoring every step of the way in that process."

For more on the story, head to ESPN FC.