With the World Cup is set to begin, there is a player that has a link to the Boston area: Clint Dempsey, the United States Men's National Team midfielder, and a player that I have had the pleasure of watching play for my club, Fulham, every week during the English Premier League season. I also watched him when he was a young player for the New England Revolution, from 2004-2007.
"Duece" has come a long way since those early days of playing for the Revs, a journey that is highlighted in Thursday's column from Frank Dell'Apa.
Dell'Apa discusses that before joining the Revolution, Dempsey was not thought of as a blue chip prospect -- FC Dallas actually passed on him twice in the MLS Draft.
That left the door open for the Revolution. John Murphy, who did much of the Revolution’s scouting when he was an assistant coach, had recommended Dempsey for the draft. And coach Steve Nicol called a former Revolution coach, Thomas Rongen, who had Dempsey on the US Under-20 national team. Rongen also promoted Dempsey and later said Nicol was the only MLS coach to make that call.
So when Dempsey showed up in Foxborough, he was considered just another youngster who might see some action as a backup defensive midfielder. But after a few days of training in the fieldhouse, Revolution coaches and players realized they were seeing something other than a generic though very athletic midfielder.
This story in the Boston Globe is not just about his time with the Revolution. Dell'Apa shows just how far Dempsey has evolved from his days in New England to playing for Fulham.
In Dempsey’s first season in England, he scored the deciding goal against Liverpool that allowed Fulham to remain in the Premiership, a result worth $60 million to the club. Last season, Dempsey hit the winning goal against Juventus as Fulham advanced to the finals of the Europa League, its best placing in a continental tournament.
Clint Dempsey is a player to watch in the World Cup. I have seen him score a key goal time after time for Fulham and the USMNT. He is an incredible clutch player that scores the goal when your team needs it.