Growing up, Clint Dempsey and his mom made a lot of long trips from his home in Nacogdoches, Texas to Dallas to train and play with the Dallas Texans.
Another long trip took him from Nacogdoches to Greenville, SC, for three years at Furman University. He left earlier after three great seasons with the Paladins.
Another long trip ended in Boston for the start of his professional career with the New England Revolution.
Then the longest of them all, to London in 2006, where he played five and a half years with Fulham.
There he played 185 games for Fulham in all competitions, scoring 60 goals. He
This article is Premium, please Log in or Subscribe to view full content![show_to accesslevel=’Subscriber’]finally had found a home at Craven Cottage where he could settle in, or so he thought.
After being voted the Fulham Player of the Season by fans for the second consecutive year, Furham let him go on transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
The transfer was reported to be just under $10 million, but he never quite felt at home there, and in April, 2013 he was signed to return to the U.S. and the Seattle Sounders for a $9 million transfer fee.
That was the”Mother of Long Trips,” back across the Atlantic and to the West Coast of the USA.
His return to the U.S. was marred by injuries. He struggled with a hamstring sprain and a shoulder strain. He played 12 games for the Sounders, scoring once.
During World Cup qualifying he had worn the captain’s arm band. He was an important key to the team and he realized that he had to come into the pre-World Cup camps in the spring in top form.
Following the advice of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Dempsey signed to return to Fulham on loan for two months during the MLS preseason.
Dempsey said that he was making the move back to Fulham because he “wanted to get back to playing at the highest level, get back to top form….Going into a World Cup year you want to get to that top form.”
By coming back for a short two months, Dempsey is returning “home” to Fulham. It’s the place where he has been longer at any one span of time since those “growing up” days in Nacogdoches.
“I’m happy here and I’m sorry if I upset anybody, but I had a great time here,” said Dempsey, as he reached out to the Fulham fans.
“Some of my best years in my football (career) have been playing for this club and that’s why I was excited about coming back here, because this is where it has always felt home to me.
“I hope to help out in this situation to help this club be in the Premier League.”
As Dempsey rejoins Fulham, the club is next to last place in the EPL and in danger of being relegated next year. If he can contribute to the success of Fulham, he is happy to do that.
But the mission is really personal, and getting himself ready for yet another long trip. This one will take him to the World Cup in Brazil, hopefully, fit and ready to go.
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