Seattle Sounders' Clint Dempsey named 2017 MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Seattle Sounders star forward Clint Dempsey was named 2017 MLS Comeback Player of the Year on Wednesday, winning the honor after returning to the field for a successful campaign after an irregular heartbeat sidelined him for the second half of 2016.

Dempsey was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat last August, forcing him out of the final 10 games of the 2016 regular season and the entirety of the Sounders’ run to the MLS Cup title. The US international returned to the field for Seattle this year, leading the team with 12 goals and adding five assists in 29 matches as the Sounders finished the regular season in second in the West.

The 34-year-old missed the first leg of Seattle’s Western Conference Semifinal series against Vancouver due to a red card suspension, but returned with a vengeance in Leg 2, scoring two goals to power Seattle to a 2-0 aggregate win over the Whitecaps. The Texas native will return to his home state for the first leg of the Western Conference Championship series against the Houston Dynamo next Tuesday.

The 2004 MLS Rooke of the Year with the New England Revolution, Dempsey has scored 46 regular season goals since joining the Sounders in 2013, one shy of the club’s all-time record. His 57 goals with the US national team are tied with Landon Donovan for the most in the history of the program.

The MLS Comeback Player of the Year award honors a player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity to go on to achieve success in the regular season. Dempsey narrowly beat out Columbus Crew SC midfielder Federico Higuain for the 2017 award, while Houston striker Erick “Cubo” Torres rounded out the top-three.

Comeback Player of the Year Player Vote % Media Vote % Club Vote % Average %
Clint Dempsey (SEA) 14.52% 26.38% 15.48% 18.79%
Federico Higuaín (CLB) 16.13% 11.96% 26.19% 18.09%
Erick Torres (HOU) 6.05% 22.39% 15.48% 14.64%
Yordy Reyna (VAN) 12.90% 8.59% 5.95% 9.15%
Drew Moor (TOR) 8.87% 3.99% 13.10% 8.65%
Ben Sweat (NYC) 4.03% 4.29% 5.95% 4.76%

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners

  • 2017: Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders
  • 2016: Chris Pontius – Philadelphia Union
  • 2015: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City
  • 2014: Rodney Wallace – Portland Timbers
  • 2013: Kevin Alston – New England Revolution
  • 2012: Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders
  • 2011: David Beckham – LA Galaxy
  • 2010: Bobby Convey – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
  • 2008: Kenny Cooper – FC Dallas
  • 2007: Eddie Johnson – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2006: Richard Mulrooney – FC Dallas
  • 2005: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2004: Brian Ching – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2003: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire
  • 2002: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2001: Troy Dayak – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards