Dempsey: Playing on Sept. 11 adds special touch to crucial qualifier

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It has been nearly 11 years since the 9/11 tragedy, but the effects from the events that took place that day are still felt by many across the nation each and every year and the U.S. men's national team players are no exception.

The U.S. will play their first game on September 11 since prior to the infamous day in 2001, and they know that the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica will hold significant meaning for them and the pro-U.S.-crowd that is expected to sell out Columbus Crew Stadium on Tuesday night.

"It is special, because it showed that our country had a lot of character and was able to bounce back from that type of situation," said Clint Dempsey. "I think people go on strength on that and us as players and as a country we always remember that and it's impacted everyone's lives. Everybody remembers where they were on that day, so yeah, (we) use it as a positive, as motivation to stay strong and keep fighting and we're excited about the challenge on Tuesday and everybody is prepared to try and get this win."

The U.S. men's national team star recalls where he was on that fateful day. The then-teenage Dempsey was at Furman University when he noticed a group of people bunched up around a TV and when he joined them to see what was going on, he was in utter disbelief with what was transpiring.

"I just really couldn't believe what I was seeing and as the days followed you found out more about the situation," said Dempsey. "Obviously it's sad for the people, I mean everybody was affected but anytime you lose family members, I know what that's like, and it's a tough thing for people and all you can do is try to look at the positives, try to think everything happens for a reason, other than that, you'll go crazy. Like I said, us as a nation, we just strength upon each other and that's what we need to do in the game on Tuesday: we need to come together as a team and get the right result."

The U.S. needs three points against Jamaica in order to avoid a pressure-filled last two games in the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and Dempsey is once again likely to start against the Reggae Boyz despite having played in his first game at any level in three months in last Friday's 2-1 loss in Kingston.

"I feel better for the game," said Dempsey. "It actually helped me a lot, it gives me more confidence, it's always good to get back on the scoresheet, but also it's better level of fitness and be able to assess the speed of what it's like playing in a game. I've benefited a lot from that."

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was not asked about the implications of the Americans playing on Sept. 11, but he did touch on Crew Stadium, calling it the perfect venue for this upcoming qualifier because of the support and actualy homefield advantage the U.S. will get.

"That's why we chose Columbus, and that's why we chose for the Guatemala game, Kansas City," said Klinsmann. "We know where the crowds are that give total support to their team and we saw that yesterday in our training session, with 4,000 people coming out, there were a lot of kids, everyone was so happy to see these guys train. And that gives us a sense of there's going to be a big support for us, which is very helpful obviously and the players really, it's a kind of feeling here, that they can't wait to get out on the field."

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22 Responses to Dempsey: Playing on Sept. 11 adds special touch to crucial qualifier

  1. Mark says:

    West LOS ANGELES – Cock N’ Bull will be playing the game. 2947 Lincoln Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405

    Show up!

    We love the American Outlaws but Hollywood is too far for us West-siders.

  2. jon says:

    On a lighter note its also my birthday. Wrap up 3 points with a bow, boys!

  3. RLW2020 says:

    they mention Columbus’ home field advantage like Tampa, Landover MD or Jacksonville didn’t really give them that.. maybe im making it up but i saw a lot of away fans at those games. The Columbus crowd should be close to 100% pro-USA.

  4. Kevin_Amold says:

    Go get the three points and let us never forget…

  5. Adrian says:

    No offense Deuce, but after your performance on Friday–you’re going to need to channel all of that.

  6. BAJ says:

    Look into starting a West LA chapter. With Games often at 5pm or earlier for us west coast people it just makes sense for there to be multiple chapters in LA. OR at least multiple official AO LA bars. I’m in the OC and our AO bar is currently in central OC but I would love to see AO bars in North and South County as well.

  7. Galaxy G says:

    Politically bull$hit! 9-11 was a scam.

  8. jordan says:

    TROLL! give em a break Adrian…he hasn’t played in a bit and he still scored…the rest of the team doesn’t have that excuse…

  9. Robbie says:

    Dempsey for mayor!

    Seriously though, this website is called soccerbyives. I’m sure there is a more appropriate website to discuss your views on 9-11.

    Dempsey’s statement speaks more to his patriotism. He travels the world playing soccer on behalf of his country and probably feels a lot more tied to the flag and what it stands for than many (particularly someone with your view of events).

    I think the point of the article was more in regards to the whole patriotism/coming together thing rather than opening a debate on a conspiracy theory.

  10. Neal says:

    Was at the Tampa game against Antigua and Barbuda and there was one small pocket of away supporters (that I saw, anyway). Naturally those are going to get caught on camera after Ant/Bar score a goal. Other than that, I didn’t really feel the crowd wasn’t pro-US.
    My two cents…

  11. Old School says:

    Anytime you represent your country, it’s a big deal.

    However, tomorrow should feel that much more awesome to put on the colors for our players on the pitch and our supporters in the stands.

    ‘merica!

  12. Old School says:

    Outside of Columbus, I believe Seattle/Portland would be as close to 100% pro-USA as we can get with rabid supporters.

    Unfortunately, Portland/Seattle…your pitch sucks.

  13. happyjuggler0 says:

    +1

    That reminds me, I was unhappy at the announcers from that game for saying, and making a big deal about it, that Dempsey was lucky on that goal.

    The man knows how to put himself in the right place at the right time; that is a skill, not luck.

    He also has fabulous finishing skills. Lots of people (who shall remain nameless) would have misfired, or clunked it right into the defender or skied it over the net or something.

  14. Old School says:

    Did they really go on about him being lucky?

    From what I recall on the beIN feed, they were praising him and his poaching skills.

  15. Andy says:

    It’s also the release of FIFA 13 so they can be motivated by their wrongly given, low ratings.

  16. Greg Sage says:

    Old School is just jealous

  17. Shane says:

    The home field advantage in Columbus is based on the fact that Columbus can host Mexico and out number the Mexican fans, and not by a lot. I dont think any other venue has shown it can do that, certainly not Chicago. Antigua and Barbuda means nothing.

  18. Shane says:

    Someone’s brain is in a galaxy far far away

  19. AlanThinks says:

    Just because you say “Antigua and Bermuda means nothing” doesn’t actually make it true you know? It’s still a World Cup qualifier and I remember there was some statistical significance to the amount in attendance. Which was particularly impressive given that it was POURING the whole game! Be proud of your city but why at the expense of devaluing others?

  20. philmatt24 says:

    Well if it means more than nothing, maybe get the name right? Bermuda is a separate entity from Antigua & Barbuda…

    No game should be overlooked, but it is fair to say that a nation of 82,000 (A&B) is unlikely to have as much support at an away qualifier as a nation of 3,000,000 (JAM) or 14,000,000 (GUA).