Dempsey is the Man!
Dempsey is the Man! avatar

When Fulham take the field, Clint Dempsey is the man.

On Saturday against Bolton Wanderers, the referee’s hand went up 25 yards from the home-team’s goal. Up stepped John Arne Riise, the Fulham left-backed famed for probably the most powerful shot in the professional game today. But alongside him was Dempsey, the indisputable leader of the Southwest London team. Riise stepped aside and Dempsey sent a wonderful curling drive around the wall and into the Bolton goal. It was his 20th of the season

And then last night, I was behind the goal at Craven Cottage in the driving rain where Fulham were at home to local rivals Chelsea. Fulham were the better team from the start with great runs from Riise and a young speedy dribbler from Austria, Kerim Frei. But it was Dempsey who at all time lurked with danger who Chelsea was most wary of. Chelsea’s John Terry was all over him.

Just before the half Chelsea got a lucky break and Frank Lampard slotted away the resulting penalty. But with 20 minutes to go Fulham turned up the pressure, and it was Dempsey who was very much the general. Playing in a more advanced role then normal, he split the Chelsea defense time and again with balls out wide to overlapping wingers.
Dempsey drives against Chelsea

Then, with time winding down the Chelsea keeper Peter Chech made a magnificent save to keep out the Fulham attack giving away a corner. Terry hung on to Dempsey but as the ball swung in a Fulham midfielder adeptly cut off the burly defender allowing the Texan to peel away and find space, and that’s not something you give the in-form American. Dempsey nodded home his 22nd goal of the season. Soaked to the skin, I stood proud, watching my countryman with his arms in the air in triumph. It was the performance of a leader.

Dempsey’s ready for the same role for the US, ready to take the leadership mantel from Donovan, who succeeded Reyna and McBride. But here’s the worry, who comes next? Do we have another Dempsey or Donovan? If we do they certainly weren’t in the Under 23’s who failed so miserably in Olympic Qualifications, nor in the Under 20’s who were just as awful in their quest to make the world championship, and definitely not in the Under 17’s who were thrashed in their age-appropriate world cup.

About Gavin Owen-Thomas

Gavin's a former journalist who worked in both newspapers and television media while also coaching at both youth and professional level. Born in Namibia, he grew up in South Africa before moving to England and then on to the United States, arriving in 1978. Gavin started playing as soon as he was old enough to kick a ball, and like every youngster he dreamed of playing, fame and glory. Oh, well.... But he does have a USSF A Coaching license, and took his UEFA A License in Wales. GotSoccer is a play on his initials. He launched the website in 1996, and for the first few years it was well-known for its soccer forum. In 2003 Gavin commissioned programmer Aaron Wilmoth to build a scheduling program based on a design he drew on the back of a restaurant napkin, and GotSoccer as we know it today was born.
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3 Responses to Dempsey is the Man!
Dempsey is the Man! avatar

  1. Brigham Johnson says:

    Always been a big supporter of Deuce and am very happy for his success.
    Comparing Fulham and the U.S Team is futile- he gets much better passes from his Craven Cottage teammates than he ever gets from anyone on the USMNT. I hope in time the level of service into the 18 improves for us, but until then Dempsey will have to continue to manufacture his own shots and poach.

  2. Dempsey is an amazing player and came from humble beginnings. It is way too early to discount the younger players in the USA. Look at McBride and Dempsey’s England careers. There is a progression of improved performance over several years. I will say this…US Soccer must change the way the traveling youth clubs train. Not enough practices and too many long balls….build build verses run and gun for wins….US Soccer must change the way they scout new talent. Too many great players are overlooked due to lack of money and resources. I have seen it at the U14 level last fall with US Club ID2 camps. Thank you.

  3. Matt Deisig says:

    Dempsy has figured out the EPL style of play and it fits him well. This guy has worked hard his entire career going back to his days at Furman. He is definitely deserving of a big pay day. Hopefully he will get the opportunity next year with a bigger club.

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