A closer look at Dempsey’s move to Seattle, and why he is returning to MLS now

DempseySeattle (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

When Clint Dempsey left Major League Soccer almost seven years ago, he left the league in a hurry to get away. Playing for a New England team with a notoriously cheap owner, that didn’t exactly draw a ton of fans, and in a league where players had little control over their futures, Dempsey couldn’t have been blamed if he kissed the ground at Heathrow Airport the first time he arrived after his $4 million transfer to Fulham.

Sure, Dempsey’s move was also about taking his talents to the biggest league in the world, and catapulting his salary into the rare air of millionaires, but it wasn’t exactly tough for Dempsey to leave behind a situation that had grown extremely frustrating for him. A situation so uncomfortable that, even years later, you could hear the disdain in Dempsey’s voice when discussing his time in the league.

So why would Dempsey come back to MLS? And now, at the age of 30, when he could still put in a few more years in the English Premier League, or some other quality European League that could afford him a chance at his dream of playing in the UEFA Champions League? He is returning because, among other things, the league he is returning to, and team he is joining, is a country mile away from the ones he left in 2006.

Think about his recent trip to Seattle for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifier vs. Panama. he walked the streets of Seattle during a Sounders game and got a taste of just how much passion there is for the Sounders, and how big a presence MLS has in that city. It was something he never experienced before in America, and led him to state he felt like he was in another country.

Then you have Seattle’s owners, who went out of their way to flex their financial muscles and show Dempsey that they would move heaven and earth, and shatter the league’s transfer and salary records to bring him in. They showed him just how important he was, and that they would spare no expense to make their team better.

Again, a completely different MLS experience to the one Dempsey grew familiar with seven years ago,  when his relationship with MLS and the New England Revolution soured amid rejected transfer offers and what Dempsey felt was an unwillingness to consider his wishes.

For that reason it had to take Dempsey some convincing, and it couldn’t have hurt to have one of his closest friends in the game, Eddie Johnson, on the Sounders. Johnson had spoken to Dempsey about his amazing time in Seattle before, about the amazing crowds and impressive owners. And how the Sounders helped resurrect a once-floundering career for Johnson.

To be clear, it is unlikely Dempsey makes his way to MLS if Tottenham had big plans for him in the upcoming season, but he faced an uncertain season ahead with Spurs unless a team came in with a bid that made sense. English Premier League teams don’t generally make a habit of spending north of $8 million on 30-year-old players, and a bigger question for Dempsey was whether joining some bottom half of the table team in some part of England outside London was really all that appealing.

When Seattle stepped forward with a big-boy bid, the largest transfer fee ever paid by MLS, it was a game-changer, and a power move few (including myself) could have imagined at this point. It shouldn’t have been that surprising that the Sounders could flex that kind of financial muscle. Not with Paul Allen part of the ownership group, and not with some of the largest soccer crowds in the world making their way to see Seattle play.

This is where Dempsey was forced to make a tough decision. Would he stay with Tottenham, a team set to sell Gareth Bale and establish a huge transfer war chest to revamp the roster with more challengers to Dempsey’s minutes, or would he come back to MLS a few years earlier than he probably he ever imagined?

To some, returning to MLS might seem like a cop-out, like giving up on a dream, but consider Dempsey’s options. In order to have a real chance at Champions League soccer he would have had to move outside England, and finding a Champions League team willing to pay an $9 million transfer for a 30-year-old player would not have been easy. That’s to say nothing of the fact Dempsey would have had to uproot his family and take his wife and two young children to a new country.

And staying at Tottenham offered no guarantee of Champions League for him. Even if Spurs have a strong 2013/2014 season, and manage to break into the Champions League a year from now, would a 31-year-old Dempsey be in their plans? You can definitely argue that Dempsey would have pushed for, and probably earned, a good share of minutes this year, but was it worth the risk of sticking around without any real guarantees he would ever play a Champions League match in a Spurs uniform?

It is tough to look at this move as Dempsey giving up, or surrendering, because the fact is he has spent the past seven seasons fighting and succeeding in one of the world’s best leagues, and most of those years were spent playing for a revolving door of managers at Fulham. He then took a risk by making a move to a bigger club in search of that Champions League dream, and while he didn’t achieve it, he still held his own and delivered key goals and moments in his usual trademark fashion.

That is why this move is so tough for some to accept right now. He played well for Tottenham, so why not have another run at it, and potentially earn a more established place on the team? That is a very fair question, and it very likely boiled down to being presented with an offer, and option, that may never come his way again. Seattle’s offer came at a perfect time, and made perfect sense for the Sounders, but isn’t one Dempsey could hope to find a year from now.

There are natural concerns about his form and whether a return to MLS will make affect his quality. There is something to be said for that, and that is likely why, according to SBI sources, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann wasn’t a fan of this move. While there may be something to that, the reality is MLS is an improving league with a high enough quality to keep Dempsey sharp. And perhaps more importantly, Dempsey’s work ethic has never been questions so it’s probably a stretch to think he would suddenly rest on his laurels.

We can definitely get into the machinations used by MLS to help facilitate this blockbuster deal, and we will, but right now the focus of this piece is trying to illustrate how Dempsey came to this decision to come back to MLS.

Ultimately, Dempsey was presented with a historic offer that only served to solidify the fact that he would be returning to a much stronger league than he left, and a more more attractive club situation than the one he walked away from so unhappily almost seven years ago.

Not everyone will like the move, and plenty will feel like he should have stayed in Europe (Klinsmann being one of those people), but it isn’t as hard to understand as you might think.

It isn’t just about the money, though a $32 million contract doesn’t hurt, but also about returning to a much different MLS than he left. An MLS he could have only dreamed of existing when he first left for Europe.

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371 Responses to A closer look at Dempsey’s move to Seattle, and why he is returning to MLS now

  1. Kelso says:

    I guess he will be set for a loan in the offseason prior to the World Cup?

    • Bean says:

      Sounders were working on an affiliation with the USL Pro side, Phoenix Wolves.

      j/k

      Sunderland would be a great place for Duece to be loaned to, if Altidore is getting minutes.

      • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

        When you go around talking every season how the only thing that matters is playing CL, people believe you. So when suddenly back out to take the money and run you’re a sell out. Also, Ives, you know I have a bromance for you man but this reads like it’s written by the MLS PR department. Disappointing all around.

        • lets win! says:

          +1

        • Landy Cakes says:

          He clearly never cared that much he stayed a fullham for a long time. I think he basically got pushed out of Spurs and wasn’t like to get another shot at CL. I mean maybe Everton…maybe.

          • paul says:

            Looks like a loan to Everton with Donovan could come during the off season..

            • Paul says:

              I know I should not have used my first name when I was posting yesterday, especially since it’s so common . I say this because I completely disagree with my namesake above. They are not going on loan to Everton. It is a completely different mgmt system, they are both on the wrong side of 30, and why interrupt a team that is clicking by bringing players to train if they do not have any inclination to sign them or have tenuous ties to the team.

              Please stop with the Donovan and Dempsey training Everton in the off-season rumors.

              • OC says:

                They surely weren’t going to sign Lando when he went in ’09 (it seemed pretty clear that there was no shot and it was just a loan spell), so that really can’t be part of the argument.

                I don’t think it’s unfeasible and it definitely isn’t stupid to think a team could seek a short-term shore-up after a grueling half of a season if the right injuries come about, but it would have to make some sense in context and can’t be looked at as an obvious thing as of right now.

        • THomas says:

          To be fair, he could have been talking about concacaf champions league this whole time!

        • Bitman says:

          Absolutely. Sharp post.

    • Doug says:

      I would like to imagine him getting loaned to a top team in the Prem but why would Seattle (and the MLS) agree to loan their most valuable player and risk injury? This deal is fantastic for the MLS and the fans but it will hurt the quality of the Nats. Despite the increase in quality of our domestics league/teams — killing it against Chivas USA is not the same as playing Man City — even if you are fighting for minutes.

      Here is a scary thought — what if he doesn’t score goals or otherwise produce? Will we interpret that as tougher competition or decrease in Clint’s quality of play? I was really hoping he was heading to Everton.

      • louis z says:

        no problem, Johannsson is waiting for his chance.

      • Landy Cakes says:

        He clearly never cared that much he stayed a fullham for a long time. I think he basically got pushed out of Spurs and wasn’t like to get another shot at CL. I mean maybe Everton…maybe.

        • Soundersfan84 says:

          I think at this point world cup matters more to him than the UEFA CL. And that was at risk if he remained where he is at.

  2. Old School says:

    People are entitled to their opinions but let’s start viewing this in a positive light.

    -He’ll get the playing time he needs.
    -He’ll be paid a handsome fee.
    -Hate it em or love em, he’ll be playing for an awesome fan base.
    -I believe an increase in attendance is about to happen for Seattle away games
    -Our two best players (outside of Jozy) are now playing in OUR domestic league
    -He’s only 30 years old…aka, not “retirement age” that everyone (including myself) have complained about

    Would you have made the same choice? That can be debated. What can’t be debated is you’ve never been in his shoes. Playing MLS hasn’t hurt Donovan…the notion that playing in our league is going to somehow cripple him or regress his talent is absurd.

    Support him. Support our league. This is a great day.

    • Brian says:

      But he is playing on TURF! How are we supposed to feel about a starting 11 USMNT player on TURF! We’re talkin about TURF man! Plus MLS defenses are terrible and will take out his legs. If he gets hurt Seattle will pay.

      • ElMtrofan says:

        As a Red Bull, I see Seattle putting on the show as the big spenders. Now you just gotta get real grass and ill start paying attention.

      • bottlcaps says:

        Good point. But I think that if the turf is an issue with protecting their 9 Million Dollar Man. Hello natural grass!!!

        • BSU SC says:

          They have $50 million NFL players competing on the same surface every Sunday. Unfortunately, I don’t think the turf is going anywhere.

      • Steevens says:

        Man United defenses took out Stu Holden’s legs. So you can take that argument off the table right now!!!!

        Also, I’m sick an tired of people like you ignoring that today’s artificial surfaces are no where near as dangerous as Astro-turf was. It’s only commentators, and coaches (yes I’m pointing my finger at JK) who’ve never played on the new surfaces and fans who think they know everything who complain about the risk.

        • beachbum says:

          I’m sick and tired of folks like you pretending it’s not a deal at all. I know the difference between astro turf and today’s field turf
          playing all those games on field turf will takes it’s toll on his body. make fun of that reality all you want.

          • Falsify says:

            Having played on various types of turf my personal opinion is that I prefer grass over all of them. Whether or not injuries occur more or less often I’m not sure. I’m also not sure if it would effect someone in their 30s more than someone in their 20s. But from player comments and actions taken by fifa during qualification, its obvious that even plotted grass is preferred for many reasons including safety and conditioning of players.

            • Leo says:

              Actually several reports done in Europe tells the opposite, they say that the new types of turf can prolong players careers. Thats why almost every PL team has several turf fields along with their natural grass field…. This is the reason FIFA allows national matches being played on them, and probably also the reason why clubs in countries in central and southern Europe now laying turf even if they easily can grow a great natural grass field….And before someone says I’m a Sounders fan,well I’m not!

              • Luke says:

                Most of the pro teams have PRACTICE fields that are turf because they are used everyday for many hours in rainy and cold conditions. Yes field turf is safer than a overused, rutted grass field, but look at any professional team playing in the top leagues in any country in Europe and name ONE that plays on a turf field.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                @Luke: “name ONE [team in a top division in Europe] that plays on a turf field.”

                I don’t think this is a comprehensive list:
                AS Nancy (though just relegated)
                Heracles Almelo
                FC Lorient
                Novara Calcio (relegated)
                IF Elfsborg
                FK Fortuna Ålesund (women’s)
                Aalesunds FK
                IFK Norrköping
                FC Nordsjælland
                FC Spartak
                FC Amkar
                Russian national team

                That list includes stadiums in several countries.

          • Chris says:

            “People” don’t pretend that it’s not a big deal. “Seattle people” pretend it’s not a big deal because it makes their team look bad. NOTHING negative can be said about the Sounders situation lest we all be nazi’s

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Hmmm, you should also be sick of people making claims without evidence to support it. Here, I’ll help you: hindawi.com/journals/jsm/2013/380523/

            Oops, looks like all you have is suspicion and anecdote.

            • beachbum says:

              yawn. play on them. play on them both. it’s no mystery which one hurts more afterwards to anyone who does, even on the wonderful state of the art surfaces

              I even enjoy playing on field turf, it’s quick and the ball rolls true when you dribble and pass, but the joints ache afterwards a noticeable difference

              suspicions? hardly. anecdotes…that’s funny

            • beachbum says:

              yawn. play on them. play on them both. it’s no mystery which one hurts more afterwards to anyone who does, even on the wonderful state of the art surfaces

              I even enjoy playing on field turf, it’s quick and the ball rolls true when you dribble and pa$$, but the joints ache afterwards a noticeable difference

              suspicions? hardly. anecdotes…that’s funny

              • Martin Blank says:

                I play on turf every week – one thing I can tell you is that the new fields are significantly better than older ones. FIFA 2-star is as good as all but the best grass fields. 1-star is very good, and downhill from there.

                The reality is Seattle’s stadium can’t sustain grass – not enough light and air, so the whole arguement is moot. Would they prefer it? Probably, but they choose to have a downtown stadium with 40,000+ every game rather than a SSS in the burbs with 15,000 and grass.

                As long as they keep replacing the field every 2-3 years, it’s a nonissue.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Keep yawning: your personal experience is the anecdote you laugh at. You don’t speak for everyone (and even for yourself alone you can’t rule out placebo). There’s no reason to accept your claims, no matter how many personal stories you tell. By the way, gr@ss causes hernias and cancer and toothaches; don’t ask how I know, I just know it.

                (On the other hand, if your joints hurt after playing on turf, maybe you’re wearing the wrong shoes.)

              • beachbum says:

                Never claimed to speak for everyone, as you clearly don’t either. Draw your conclusions from wherever you’d like to direct your discussions, If you played on the surfaces you’d have no reason to accept or deny any claim because you would know. It’s not a mystery

              • beachbum says:

                Martin, Not saying Seattle should change their field, or discussing the reasons it’s field turf, or anything like that. I get it, it is indeed moot to me…I did not bring any of that up. Also not saying the new Filed Turfs aren’t light years better than the old crap.

                cheers

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                beachbum: LOL! “If” I played on these surfaces. You @ssume too much, too often. I’ve played for decades, on every surface you might imagine and in every type of shoe. But I don’t make sweeping conclusions about others based on my limited experience.

                At least you agree that neither of us speak for for everyone; the only difference is that none of my comments can be construed that way.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                @Martin Bank: I’ve never heard anything about CenturyLink lacking sufficient “light and air” to sustain gr@ss. My understanding—based partly on all the other fields around here—is that frequent rain is the primary concern. It could be done, but would require expensive irrigation systems under the field.

                Safeco Field, for example, is next door to CenturyLink and uses gr@ss—but a baseball game doesn’t rip a field to shreds in the rain like a football/soccer game.

              • beachbum says:

                LOL yourself. if you have then you know. simple.

                and my comments aren’t construed any other way than how you perceive them

            • bml says:

              That’s a meta-analysis on injury rates and the data was mostly non-elite professional players. The article even states: “However, until more is known about how issues such as altered playing styles affect injury incidence, it is difficult to make firm conclusions regarding the influence of AT on player safety.”

              What’s not addressed is the type and severity of injuries. Evidence from soccer and NFL studies are finding ACL injuries are four times more likely on turf. ACL injuries are one of the worst injuries for an athlete. Even if the injury rates are similar, an increase in severe injuries is a problem.

              Penn State has a comprehensive overview of turf vs grass at: link to sportsbuilders.org

              I’ve played on many turf fields. I like high quality turf and prefer it over medium or low quality grass fields, but heat can be an issue in the summer.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                @bml: Exactly. Thanks for reading the article—or at least the abstract ;) —and quoting the key point: “it is difficult to make firm conclusions.” Although, as we’ve seen in this thread, it’s only difficult for people who base their firm conclusions on actual data.

                If this were as free from “mystery” as beachbum thinks, the studies would be crystal clear. Note that I never stated that one surface is safer than another—because, well, my point is that that conclusion is unjustifiable.

                And you’re darn right about the heat on turf. It can feel like playing on asphalt!

              • beachbum says:

                read the articles too, thanks.

                players remain unconvinced… kept reading that in your article KingGoogleyEye. My point all along

          • Landy Cakes says:

            Personally I prefer Turf. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t there’s rubber under there, its probably more forgiving than grass honestly.

        • Brian says:

          Seattle’s turf is not the same at Portland’s. It is sub-standard and has to be covered in grass to get quality teams to play on it.

          • P-towns? says:

            Hmmm, I suppose that is why Portlands turf has been voted worse than Seattle’s by MLS players?

            • Bakasama says:

              This comment is laughable. Prove it.

              As for the Turf in Seattle Thierry Henry refuses to play on it. He did however comment on Portland’s Turf:

              “Their turf is good!” Henry told reporters just before the Red Bulls came to Portland on March 3. “It’s different from any other turf you play in the league. That’s an amazing one.”

            • Bird says:

              I believe you have that backwards. All the reports I have read from players etc claim that Portland’s turf is the best turf they have ever played on and its not even close. The Henry interview is the easiest reference point here. I also play on a lot of turf fields, but I can tell you the main pitch I play on is shared with a college football team and it is by far the worst. The field is compressed and much harder than other soccer specific turf fields and your spikes seem to stick a little more when you attempt to cut. This is my experience with turf and shared turf fields.

      • divers suck says:

        Please remind me, and everyone else, what kind of playing surface Clint played on in New England?

    • elgringorico says:

      I don~t know how Michael Bradley isn’t in your top 3 but that is a different story

    • Joe says:

      I would argue our best player is Bradley and he still plays in Europe.

      • Old School says:

        Touche.

      • jake says:

        He is without a doubt the US player with the most current professional challenges, but that doesn’t mean he is the best player.

        He can be, just not yet

        • Dennis says:

          I would argue that Bradley is the one player on the USMNT who has the greatest influence on how the team plays. When he is absent (against good opponents) the US looks a lot worse, when he is on the field, the team’s play usually reflects the quality of game Bradley has; when he does well the US does well, if he has a tougher time, it affects the rest of the team. Other players can have poor games without the whole team suffering.

          • Big Red says:

            When we beat Mexico at Azteca 2 years ago Bradley was not on the field. When we tied them at Azteca earlier this year Bradley was playing. Just saying. I think our offense looks much better without Bradley on the field.

            • tw says:

              You’re comparing a friendly to a World Cup Qualifier (fail), only looking at 2 data points (fail), and forgetting all the clutch goals that Bradley has scored against Mexico. (3 fails you’re out.)

              I think Bradley is our best CM since Reyna and O’Brian at their peak in 2002.

          • Jake says:

            There is no doubt Bradley makes the USMNT better. No sane person will argue against that, he’s just not the best field player in the pool…yet

    • Hogatroge says:

      You mean our #2 & #3 best players are playing in MLS.

      • Old School says:

        Tomato, Tomato.

      • Herschel Skywalker says:

        True. Adu is playing in Brazil. :)

      • MiamiAl says:

        I would say it is #4 and #5…Bradley, Jermaine Jones, and Steve Churondolo in Europe then Dempsey and Donovan in MLS.

        • Old School says:

          Cherundolo?

          What year is this again?

          • Kosh says:

            Old School don’t you get it – if you play in Europe you are waaaay better than anyone who plays in MLS. Watch as new names emerge Dempsey and LD will continue to move further and further down the list as out best players.

            • RedCru says:

              Would imagine Agudelo, Shea, and Cameron should now all be in top five.
              It is a shame we will have to watch MLS hacks like Dempsey, Donovan, and Zusi in Brazil…

            • Old School says:

              Who needs Donovan, Dempsey and Zusi when you can have: Ream, Kljestan & Lichaj.

              They latter play in Europe, after all.

    • Rob says:

      I agree with most of what you said, but Michael Bradley (arguably our best player) is not playing in MLS…

      • Old School says:

        Yea, that was definitely an oversight.

        I still don’t know if I personally put him ahead of Dempsey or Donovan but it’s hard to argue against him being our best player.

    • MemRook says:

      MICHAEL BRADLEY!!!!!!! NÚMERO UNO!!!!!!!! AARGHHHH!!!

      Jk, I got your point. And I feel similarly. The more I think about it the more I love this move. Just excited to have one our most successful usmnt boys back home while he has a ton to offer.

    • beachbum says:

      been reading all the posts and many of the pissed off/disappointed fans. I think they feel betrayed perhaps? Clint was the anti Landon in his approach and went over to fight in the BPL. It gave Americans a different soccer hero to root for, and for reasons they appreciated. I expect to get disagreements on this opinion but whatever. I’ve always like them both and realize many others always have too.

      On Clint’s move, I love it as an unabashed MLS supporter. this is great for our league and can’t wait to see Clint lineup vs. teams like the Galaxy, Sporting, Portland, Red Bulls, RSL and more. Some MLS teams struggle to play attractive soccer but many don’t. Clint helps change that even more and give season ticket holders in some of the weaker teams’ cities another reason to go see Seattle when they come to town.

      • Kevin says:

        I think I agree. I hated the idea at first (though really it’s Clint’s decision and my opinion doesn’t matter much). Now that I think about it more I can find hope here.

        First, I love the MLS. However, I don’t support any one particular team. I feel a bit left out having been a Man U and USMNT fan for a long time. When Man U plays I want them to win. When the USMNT plays I want them to win. MLS games are a very different experience. I like a number of the teams and I like watching the soccer but it’s hard for me to get excited about watching the MLS games since I often don’t really care who wins.

        Now, we have Clint who is one of my favorite players. And my hope is that this will give me a reason to get excited about a particular team.

    • I don’t know why Klinsmann would be upset. He will get the playing time needed.

      The risk is the lack of competition for a spot on the Sounders. At Tottenham, he would be fighting every practice. While he may not rest on his laurels, it is still a risk. If you are not being challenged everyday, you are not getting better.

      • Vic says:

        I don’t blame Klinnsmann I would be upset as well. From a national team coach perspective you want your players to push to the highest possible level. Not saying MLS is a bad league but BPL is better. I’m sure Klinnsmann wouldn’t be happy if Dempsey was going to the Dutch or Belgian League either. At the same time Dempsey needs to do whats best for him and his family. So I can’t fault either side.

        • MN Footie says:

          Yeah, I agree with Vic. At the beginning of the year, Klinsmann was highly critical of Dempsey (as a motivation tactic, I believe) and the gist of his criticisms were: “I don’t want to see Dempsey grow complacent with his success in the Premier League. He needs to get to the Champions League, because that’s really where the wheat gets separated from the chaff.”

          That said: My view has changed somewhat after reading this piece. I agree with Ives that the circumstances are such that this move makes sense for Clint. I (like everyone) just hope that it doesn’t cause any loss of polish on the national team stage.

          Wonderful piece, Ives.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      ‘Playing MLS hasn’t hurt Donovan’

      you know this how? you don’t know that donovan wouldn’t be better right now if he had played most of his career in europe, so that’s a pretty speculative argument.

      and it really isn’t absurd to think that playing week-in-week-out against substantially lower-level opponents will hurt, or at least stagnate, a player’s performance level. on the contrary, that seems like a pretty reasonable statement.

      • Falsify says:

        +1

      • Old School says:

        “you know this how? you don’t know that donovan wouldn’t be better right now if he had played most of his career in europe, so that’s a pretty speculative argument.”

        Donovan wasn’t cut out for Europe. You can play devils advocate all you’d like but the facts remain:

        -He’s still the best American to ever lace up a pair of boots
        -He almost instantly was Everton’s best player when he joined the team, mid-season
        -He routinely stands out on the international stage

        …and he did this all the while playing almost exclusively in MLS.

        • MesaATLien says:

          +1

        • Glenn says:

          “instantly Everton’s best player” – impactful, certainly yes. Best? – don’t think so. He had up and down games/halves like everyone else. When on, he was a real threat. Hope for CD to Sunderland and LD to Everton in January.

          • CplDaniel says:

            What was great about Landon’s play at Everton is that when he came in, the team as a whole became something better than the sum of its parts. I would not say that he was their best player, but I think that everybody played better when was there.

            • louis z says:

              some fanboys even said that Everton continued to play better after LD left, talk about leaving a legacy behind. Never mind, they ended up in the same standings spot when LD came in.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          it’s not ‘playing devil’s advocate’ to say that you can’t predict what might have happened had donovan stayed in europe; it’s reason.

          and the rest of your comment can be summed up as saying: ‘landon donovan’s really good, so he wouldn’t be better if he had stayed in europe.’

          • Old School says:

            The reality is he flourished in MLS and has a resume many soccer players can only dream of.

            The resume you wish he had is something hopes and dreams.

            Your statement is based on an assumption.
            My statement is based on reality.

            • Nate Dollars says:

              ‘Your statement is based on an @ssumption.
              My statement is based on reality.’

              lol, what is this, bizarro world? remember that YOU were the one who first presented the ‘fact’ that ‘MLS hasn’t hurt Donovan’. you have no possible way of knowing that; therefore, that’s an @ssumption–speculation, if you will. i was merely pointing it out.

              (this argument gets dumber as we keep talking. i’m going to bow out now.)

          • Old School says:

            Your opinion is based on speculation that he could have advanced further had he played in Europe.

            My opinion is based on reality that he flourished in MLS and we see the current player as a result.

            Speculation < Reality

        • Dennis says:

          Whether or not Donavon would have been better if he had managed to play full seasons in a major european league is something we will never know. One thing I do believe, though, is that playing in MLS, playing WC, Gold Cup and Confed Cup and then playing loan stints in europe probably hurt him and was the reason he felt he had to take time off and lost his enthusiasm for the game. I think the idea that the loans to Everton and Bayern helped him is wrong and believe it served only to team him down.

          • tw says:

            Agreed, we can play hypotheticals all day, but after watching guys for years, we can make reasonable assessments. Donovan is obviously talented enough to start for an upper-half team like Everton but would probably be a 2nd team or role player on a Champions league team like Man U, Chelsea, or Bayern. Obviously he had a coach he liked in Moyes, whereas other coaches would lead to less successful stints.

            We can also assume that Landon likes living in California and likes playing for Bruce, which helps him play with confidence.

    • Adam says:

      Nah, I still think Liga MX would’ve been a better option for him and the USMNT. If you ask “why” because it is a more prominent league with a couple of Copa Libertadores finals and a win in the Copa Sudamericana.

      • Left Coast Bias says:

        His contract is for 4 years. MLS might be in the Libertadores or back in Sudamericana by then.

      • Glenn says:

        It hasn’t been mentioned in the press, but I’m wondering if there is a family component to this decision (age of kids– back in the US vs moving to another country – potentially non-English-speaking).

        • MN Footie says:

          I think Ives touched on that, and I think it’s a real possibility. You can’t deny that a move to a lower tier CL team in another country would cause a disturbance in the family. It has to be a factor.

      • Vic says:

        Mexican League wouldn’t pay him as much. If he wanted to take a pay cut he would be better off going to another BPL team.

    • Adam says:

      Man, Bradley is the beast… and I remember when some idiots turned on him just because his dad was the coach. I knew he was good then and the treatment was unfair. He is the best ranked US player in the world because he starts in a top Serie A team. Nobody else comes close to that. Donovan is in MLS, now Dempsey and who would that third best US player playing in MLS be?

      • Old School says:

        “He is the best ranked US player in the world because he starts in a top Serie A team.”

        This is such a ridiculous premise, it’d be like saying Sasha Kljestan is now better than Dempsey or Donovan because he plays in Europe.

        Bradley is a beast but being ranked higher because he plays in Europe is an outdated argument.

        • Adam says:

          I said Serie A, not Europ. Jupiler Pro League is not the same as Serie A.

          • Old School says:

            Semantics.

            Where does Serie A fall in terms of the top leagues in Europe?

            It’s not in the Top 3, that’s for sure.

            • Adam says:

              Well, if Champions League is the standard Serie A teams have won more than any other European league with 12, except for La Liga with 13, but Serie A teams have been in most finals with 26 with La Liga second at a distant 22. Hope you learned something today.

            • Falls City Outlaw says:

              I think there’s more parity in Serie A than in La Liga, that’s for sure. La Liga may have 2 of the 3 biggest/best teams, but the league itself is broke.

              • Old School says:

                It’s not a Top 3 league.

                We can debate about the quality of the rest of the league but it’s simply not.

                That was the point and premise of what he was saying.

            • Pullingthegoalie says:

              Serie A is on its way back. The premiere ship is actually starting to underwhelm.

            • Adam says:

              Well can you give me a top four, at least?

      • John says:

        We’re going to have to wait and see about that starting role. If nothing changes my guess he isn’t starting.

      • Jovins says:

        Jermaine Jones starts for a better team.

        • Adam says:

          you forgot to say “in my opinion”

          • Paul says:

            actually, Schalke is the 15th best ranked in UEFA (link to uefa.com). This based on their performance coefficients over the past 5 seasons. It is very safe to assume that Seatle (who is not a top 5 team MLS) is not better than the 15th best team in Europe.

      • louis z says:

        wait a minute MB was a different player until he went to play in Italy, just everyone that knows soccer agrees to this. When he was playing for his dad he required the extra touch, the extra dribble etc. Don’t try to make it a point when clearly we are talking about a player than has improved by leaps and bounds to become arguably the current best USA player.

    • Judging Amy says:

      Great post. We should be excited to have such a great player in OUR league.

    • THomas says:

      Old School, I agree with most of what you, maybe not the top ‘two’ player part, but the part about supporting our league.

      I admit I am a bit of a EURO and premier league snob, mainly because of the quality and how the game is presented to us in the US. But with a move like this, I may have reached my tipping point and will take some serious time to watch and learn MLS. The biggest influence is that some of the best, and most important, USMNT players can now be found in MLS.

      Donovan, Dempsey, Gonzalez, Zusi, Besler could all be starting in Brazil. That has my attention, that is impressive to me. In my world, this is bigger than David Beckham. This likely is when I start to watch MLS on the regular. And not just Sounders games, but the league in general.

      Now only if the Fire can figure it out I’d have a hometown team I can get behind.

    • Gnarls says:

      “-Our two best players (outside of Jozy) are now playing in OUR domestic league”

      I never thought I’d see the day. I’m still shocked. Not stoked because it’s the Sounders, but stoked to have Deuce and LD in the MLS while still playing world-class soccer.

    • Oranje Mike says:

      Bradley is far superior to Jozy. If he’s not on par with Landycakes and Deuce, he is damn close. Jozy is still on the outside looking in among this trio.

      • Judging Amy says:

        Agreed but Jozy’s the youngest of the four. 3 years younger than MB and 7-8 years younger than Demps and LD.

    • DCLee says:

      Agreed Old School. Well said!!!

    • Bitman says:

      “-Our two best players (outside of Jozy) are now playing in OUR domestic league>”

      Huh? Michael Bradley plays in Italy.

    • DGH says:

      Not to mention, Seattle has GREAT fishing…

  3. BrianK says:

    What a huge development for MLS and US soccer. Kudos to Seattle. Teams like the Sounders and Sporting Kansas City,…owned by Americans,…are putting foreign owned clubs (Chivas USA and Redbulls) in MLS to shame!!

    I am hoping this sets the wheels in motion for the better clubs in MLS to make moves for good players (American and non-American) in their prime. Great to see the relationship in Seattle paying off big time,….the fans support the club and the club improves the product. Awesome stuff.

    • Falsify says:

      As a Sporting fan, I now expect Rob H. to drop 9 million on a player. I think it’s a little silly we haven’t signed a STAR dp. Zusi and Besler don’t count and Beieler is small money compared to what Seattle just laid down.

      • DREAM says:

        LOL, with what money?

        Sporting will sign a big money player when they expand their stadium… which isn’t likely to happen soon.

        And really, as a “Sporting fan,” do you need a “big money” player to come in and f.ck with the team chemistry right now? I don’t think so, Sporting is a model club, I wouldn’t mess around with it too much right now.

        If they go to the conference finals again this year and fail… maybe then will I consider your comment anything but ignorance.

  4. Pingunça says:

    A great piece of common sense writing

    • Bill Brasky says:

      Agreed. Presented all angles and came to the right conclusion. Great post, Ives.

    • Roberto says:

      This.

    • Fredo says:

      Yep.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Agreed.

      In the past day or two almost everyone on here, myself included, seems to only look at this move too narrowly. Clint has a family and, based on all the interviews he’s ever done where he talks about his sister, it’s pretty apparent that family is very important for him. Like Ives said, he probably just wants to come back home instead of moving his family to another city, or possibly country.

      Additionally, he is 30 and how many $32 million dollar contracts will be offered to him in his life?

      People seem to be forgetting that personal reasons also factored into his decision.

    • MN Footie says:

      +100%

    • H.P. Drifter says:

      There’s no place for this kind of rational analysis on the interwebs, Ives.

  5. Left Coast Bias says:

    Still laughing out loud at Ives’s proclamations that this was all a fantasy and Seattle fans were delusional on his last podcast.

    Ives should leave the rumor mongering (and debunking) to the professionals.

    • Al_OC says:

      So, if someone told you last week that Dempsey’s going to Sounders, you wouldn’t think it’s ridiculous?

      Personally, I’d be literally rolling on the floor laughing.

      • Left Coast Bias says:

        Not when there was plenty of evidence to the contrary. Ives chose to ignore and make fun of it.

        We didn’t.

        • sammysounder says:

          I chose to ignore it and make fun of it. I didn’t let my hopes start to go up until he was spotted in SF.

      • Old School says:

        We also don’t have access to sources, so the comparison isn’t a fair one to make.

  6. QuakerOtis says:

    I like the move, agree with Ives, but I can’t wait to hear what Klinsi has to say about this.

  7. sal says:

    I’m Disappointed for Clint that he never got to play Champions league football. Must have been tough for him to let that dream go.

    • Raymon says:

      There’s still CONCACAF champions league, no?

      • Left Coast Bias says:

        Yep. But we’re not in it this year and won’t be in it next year unless we win MLS Cup or Supporters Shield…..which just became much more likely with Dempsey signing.

        • beto says:

          if the Sounders can get into the playoffs they would be my pick for MLS Cup champs.. four points out and in 7th place right now.

          now that international callups are over, for a while, and injuries are mostly behind them its time to see how good that SSFC lineup can be.

      • Adam says:

        MLS should retire from CONCACAF Champions league. It is always won by Mexico.

  8. bottlcaps says:

    I feel that with the loss of Bale, Tottenham will be in a downward spire and WILL NOT achieve a Champion;s’ League spot for Tottenham during Demsey’s tenure there.

    And you are right on the button in his European options. And should Dempsey have even the slightest injury setback, getting back to first team against a lot of younger and just as hungry players, would be a tough chore and something not needed in a pre-WC season.

    But I think the emergence of the MLS as a destination League and not a “retirement” league, the feeling that the US is building something special for the WC and that the MLS and Liga MX players are driving some of that special feeling was is a strong factor in the decision to return.

    • John says:

      Bale covered over the fact the Spurs just weren’t creating many chances last year. I even feel bad for Adebayor.

  9. YO says:

    I were Dempsey my number two demand would for them to install natural grass.

    • SweeveZ says:

      I don’t get why they haven’t switched? Because of NFL?

      • sammysounder says:

        Because its Seattle. It rains constantly. You don’t get grass, you get mud and moss.

    • jake says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they did install real grass. If they went this far in to getting CD and he wanted grass, I’m sure that is just one more thing Seattle will do.

  10. Advocate says:

    Paul Allen’s partnership in the Sounders is via First & Goal, the operations management group that manages both the Seattle Seahawks & Seattle Sounders, and the business operations infrastructure of the Seahawks organization. He is not an active owner in the sense of funding investments in the club’s technical operations; i.e. roster.

    Joe Roth, and the significant profits made from years 1 – 5 in MLS, are much more likely the funding sources for this large investment.

  11. Horsewhistle says:

    Seven years is a long time to be away from home, especially pulling a young family along.
    Plus the Spurs and their fans never gave the respect he deserved, probably the love would never be there unless he was British, and not like Fulhamerica. So yeah, come back where you are loved, and there is bigger love for the game. Eventually family and support will trump all other goals and Deuce cashed in but still gave it his best for a run for at CL, now it’s someone else’s turn.

    Now with that being said, Deuce, welcome to the PAC northwest.
    Enjoy the fishing but don’t expect anything in your nets when you play the Timbers. PTFC.

    • Left Coast Bias says:

      Oh look, another non-Portland, Portland Timbers fan…

      Only outsiders say “PAC NW”

      It’s Cascadia to us.

      • MemRook says:

        And?

      • beachbum says:

        another nauseating Cascadian fan. Geez, you all got a cool thing going on up there, why such a pr!ck about it?

      • 2tone says:

        Oh Christ. I am a Seattle fan, get over this whole “Cascadia” thing.

      • Horsewhistle says:

        That’s true, Cascadia is a regional, local term, but this is a national forum. If I wanted some local hand wringing I would have included my comments on a PTFC blog.
        LeftCoast troll, you are welcome to come by and wear my Cascadia scarf while you cut my lawn during tonight’s match while I am seated in 101 or you can spend the afternoon pondering ]something constructive to say about the most loved USMNT team player going to our most hated rival.

      • scott47a says:

        Maybe if you are a 20-something hipster. I lived 90 percent of my life in Washington and everyone called it the Pacific Northwest. Lighten up Francis.

      • Turgid Jacobian says:

        I grew up in oregon and call it PNW. Get a grip.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        Settle down

      • EspinDOHla says:

        Left Coast, do you have a secret handshake too???

      • Gnarls says:

        Grew up in Portland, always called it the Pacific Northwest. No one likes a pretentious pedant.

  12. Len says:

    When would he start playing here?

  13. Left Coast Bias says:

    “Not with Paul Allen part of the ownership group, and not with some of the largest soccer crowds in the world making their way to see Seattle play.”

    Paul Allen is actually a minority owner. The big money is Joe Roth. Drew Carey and Adrian Hanauer are also minority owners.

    Seattle according to Brand Awareness, Forbes and Football Revenues brings in around $65 million a year from sponsorships, TV deals and of course game day revenue.

    Perspective, that’s 1/3rd more than LA Galaxy earns a year and just below the $68 million Columbus Crew sold for….. EVERY YEAR.

    Its been like watching a sleeping giant awaken. 5 years in Seattle finally stepped up and declared it is a financially a bigger club than NYRB or LA Galaxy by spending $41 Million on Dempsey’s deal and another $10 million on Obafemi Martins deal.

    Dont be shocked if more money is spent soon, with rumors linking us to Spanish center back David Navarro who just left Levante in Spain’s La Liga. Reports in Spain a couple weeks ago said he will join his former Levante team mate Obafemi Martins in Seattle.

  14. Raymon says:

    Well, now I’m buyin tickets to when the Sounders come to town to play my local boys.

  15. Left Coast Bias says:

    “Not everyone will like the move, and plenty will feel like he should have stayed in Europe (Klinsmann being one of those people),”

    Actually, quite the opposite, Klinsmann in someway probably encouraged Dempsey. He has stated almost repeatedly that he wants players PLAYING. Whether that is in Europe or MLS it is not as big a deal as some like Ives make it out to be.

    Ives also seems to not know that Sigi Schmid and Jurgen Klinsmann are close friends (German connection) and Klinsmann is regularly spotted at CenturyLink field watching matches.

    Oh well…. I guess Ives is drawing another wrong conclusion (just like when he laughed that Dempsey would come in the first place on his last podcast)..

    The only people laughing now are Sounders fans…..at him!

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Lol. Ok, good for you guys and all, but NO ONE saw this coming. Everyone outside of Seattle thought it was a baseless rumor, and even most SSFC fans have to admit they were relying more on hope than information. Cut SBI a little slack. The crystal ball was out of batteries…

      • Left Coast Bias says:

        Actually no, Dempsey was tracked by Sounders fans from London to San Francisco to Seattle with photos. That’s called information.

        Want the full timeline?

        link to storify.com

    • MemRook says:

      Personally i think it’s refreshing when journalists get it waaaaayyyy wrong sometimes (not a knock, Ives, I ranted on twitter for like 2 hours how the Deuce rumor was complete lunacy). It shows me that there is still some element of surprise in even today’s media landscape, and reveals to me a journalist’s honest feelings about a subject, which make them feel more human to me and not like autonomical news spewing regurgitation machines.

      • Left Coast Bias says:

        Except that Sounders fans from Heathrow Airport in London to San Francisco International in San Francisco to Seattle-Tacoma International tracked and photographed his every move and tweeted them on Twitter.

        Hell, there was a guy from the ECS on BBC World Football Phone In last night who works his day job as an air traffic controller and he was tracking Dempsey’s plane.

        There was also a baggage handler who is a Sounders fan who said Dempsey was given a VIP escort van which is how people didn’t photograph him arriving in Seattle. Supporters and TV new showed up but no one saw him get off the flight that a Sounders fan swore he was on in first class.

        This is the kind of fandom that occurs on transfer deadline day in Europe. You should be proud that kind of madness has arrived in the USA and MLS.

        • jake says:

          It was hard to predict because nobody has ever treated an American Soccer Player with this much secrecy that was tracked by such dedicated and excited fans.
          In most peoples mind, the MLS didn’t see like a league capable of pulling this off…thankfully most people were wrong.

        • Chupacabra says:

          I was sitting next to Dempsey in first class on that flight. He smelled like an old man’s butt.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      A) I was hardly alone in thinking the move couldn’t happen (and it took two record-breaking transactions and a third as-yet identified mechanism to make it so) and B) I have had sources confirm Klinsmann wasn’t happy with the move. You can go ahead and choose not to believe it if that makes you feel better.

      • MN Footie says:

        The odds are, anyone who saw this coming, or claims to have seen it coming, is delusional. This is a surprising move, by any metric or definition. It is, quite frankly, unprecedented for the MLS. So calm down on the criticism of SBI and Ives for taking the reasonable approach a week ago.

        Instead, let’s recognize that this piece offers a perfect explanation for something unique, and recognize that SBI is just about the best thing going for news-starved US soccer junkies like all of us.

        Can I get an amen?

  16. SLOLIFE72 says:

    I think 10 years from now, MLS and ultimately Klinsi and the USMNT will be giving some thanks to this Dempsey move. Short term, it may be a small step back for the current USMNT. Long term, it’s a huge step forward for American Soccer IMO.

    • Old School says:

      In hindsight, we’ll be looking at this move (along with Donvan’s amazing career while in MLS), as catalysts to seeing more Americans staying in MLS and more elite Americans coming back to MLS well before their prime ends.

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Xander Crews says:

      Strongly disagree. Long term, this will hurt other Americans who express ambition in Europe, as clubs will be able to point to Dempsey as an example of why not to sign the Yank over another Euro.

      Go read some European news outlets’ telling of this story for how this move is being perceived. It’s a disaster for Americans abroad.

      • Jay says:

        Why are you worried what Euros think?

      • 2tone says:

        Lol. Hyperbole much?

      • MemRook says:

        Meh. People are fickle and constantly forgetting everything. Someone like a Jozy or Bradley or Johannson will help erase whatever fobias you claim Europeans have now because of Deuce. Just look at Suarez and his antics and how everyone an their mom wants his services. People move on so fast it’s not even funny.

        • SLOLIFE72 says:

          Exactly. The idea that the whole of US Soccer rested on the shoulders of Clint Dempsey is a little over the top. It’s all about small percentages here and there. Who knows what type of butterfly effect this will have on the local league. I think good things.

        • Anthony says:

          Fobias? Do you mean phobia

      • SLOLIFE72 says:

        It’s been a mixed bag on Euro sites as well, just like here in the states. But I do get a sense that Americans will now be judged by Altidore and Bradley’s play, rather than a 30 year old who may have reached his potential. Either way, if American Soccer was 100% dependent on the decisions of Dempsey, then the sport was doomed. It’s not and it isn’t.

        • JR says:

          much like US Soccer would be judged in how they play in the World Cup and not about an individual actions.

          • sammysounder says:

            Sort of… we did better than the English last World Cup, yet they’re still convinced they’re better. Europeans don’t judge soccer teams solely based on results.

      • scott47a says:

        Europeans. LOL
        (And I say this as a guy who is dating a Dutch girl)

      • Old School says:

        This post literally made me laugh out loud.

      • Matt says:

        Dempsey more than paid the club back for his initial transfer fee, especially when compared to the overpriced fees paid for many players based in europe, especially the UK. Shoot, the goal he scored to save Fulham from relegation more than paid for his transfer fee, and after that he was a top scorer (including 3rd top for Spurs last year). So yeah, European clubs think he was a horrible return on their investment.

      • bml says:

        It will only help. Dempsey was a damn find player that was undervalued. Liverpool offered $5M for him and the Spurs took him for $9M last season. His value last spring was estimated at $16M, yet no teams really cared. Even at the Spurs there was a feeling of indifference. Dempsey basically showed he wasn’t “captive”, didn’t have to play the EPL game and took control of his future.

        It’s ridiculous to think this impacts American’s in Europe unless maybe forcing them to notice us or take us more seriously. Or showing that top American players hold their value. I mean you have Bale, Rooney and Suarez throwing tantrums to be traded. Players like Drogba running off to China. Dempsey getting a good deal and going to play in his home country is somehow bad?

        Looking at the BBC discussion there are a lot of positive comments about Dempsey.

        • Bitman says:

          Like this perspective, and makes me rethink the uniformly negative reaction I had to Clint’s move at first. Nicely put.

      • away goals says:

        Much as I hate to disagree with awesome-x, this hardly provides european clubs with evidence that signing americans is a bad idea.

        Spurs were able to unload a role player (in their eyes) for a substantial transfer fee. If anything it shows that there’s an added market value for elite americans as they near the end of their prime.

  17. Nate says:

    Given the impact full contributions of MLS players for the USMNT this year, you would think Klinsi’s perception of the league has changed dramatically. I have no fears MLS will hinder Deuce. I don’t think LD10 would be any better had he played years in Europe.

    • Left Coast Bias says:

      Exactly. Klinsmann actually rates MLS higher than Bob Bradley did. These ideas that he is somehow mad at Dempsey’s move are made up nonsense, as time will tell.

      Klinsi is always up in Seattle watching Johnson, Evans, Yedlin, etc.

      • beachbum says:

        how does he rate it higher? they both rate it, OK? when Linnsman first started coaching it was relatively clear he didn’t know MLS all that well, why would he have? but he’s learned fast. the guy has been ever evolving, and I would argue it’s his greatest strength so far as US coach, and it’s awesome to see

        • beachbum says:

          *Coach Klinsmann

        • Left Coast Bias says:

          Bradley had a preference for European based players. Klinsmann looks to Europe but also finds quality in Liga MX and MLS.

          • Matt says:

            Well Bradley also used multiple players from Liga MX (Torres, Gomez) and MLS (Bornstein, Buddle,Donovan, etc.) at the World and Confederations Cup. Shoot, Holden was used and was in MLS up until the World Cup year.

          • beachbum says:

            for what Bradley considered the best players, and he routinely got harangued for calling up the MLS guys yet he hung with it. Now MLS has more talent, each year, and Coach has had more time to evaluate the league since he first arrived, and he’s using both MLS and other leagues to field A and B teams, like Bradley.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Which may have something to do with the fact that MLS is a considerably better league now than it was the majority of Bradley’s tenure.

  18. Len says:

    Is there any time barrier issue (transfer window etc.) or can he just begin to train and play when his fitness allows? Big boost for MLS profile.

    • Left Coast Bias says:

      Not sure but we get ITC (International Transfer Certificates) very quickly in Seattle. And for foreign players the immigration office is just across the street from CenturyLink Field, which is why we get their paperwork done faster than other teams it seems.

      ie: Obafemi Martins got off a plane the night before he debut for Seattle at home vs Portland earlier this year.

      • soundore says:

        Immigration office is in Tukwila, and it doesn’t handle professional athlete visas… get your facts straight.

  19. Xander Crews says:

    So, what this boils down to then is that Seattle was the only team gullible enough to give Spurs what they paid for him last year, because no other team would consider paying that much for him? Sorry, I’m not buying that.

    MLS isn’t all that different from the league he left. While Seattle may be a great soccer town, the fact remains that the vast majority of stadiums have little to no life in them – he’s going to play 10-15 games a year in front of soccer moms, kids in jerseys running around the concourse and an atmosphere that makes a mausoleum seem hip. Add in the fact that he’s going to be playing on plastic (fake stuff so bad that many other DPs refuse to play on it) and that MLS is still a league with a style of play that emphasizes physical attributes (size, speed, strength) over technical ability, and this just has disaster written all over it.

    For Dempsey to be so vocal about wanting the competition, both in the league and within the Spurs’ roster for playing time, as recently as a month ago, this move does nothing but perpetuate the European-held myth that us Yanks can’t play football.

    • Left Coast Bias says:

      ” he’s going to play 10-15 games a year in front of soccer moms, kids in jerseys running around the concourse and an atmosphere that makes a mausoleum seem hip. ”

      Dude, get out of New York City. Or is it LA?

      You clearly never have been to Vancouver, Portland, Montreal, Kansas City or even Salt Lake City.

      • BamaMan says:

        I think that was the point. There are some great MLS venues and fanbases (Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Vancouver, Philadelphia) and a whole bunch that are not (NY, LA, NE, Dallas, Chicago, Columbus, Colorado, and plenty more). This really worries me for the future of MLS. We are exiting a period of smart, sustained growth, including construction of soccer specific stadiums. We could have really established the league as the best in the Americas at 20 teams but with plenty of parity. Instead, the league has gotten addicted to expansion fee money and is returning to the NASL model of wildly overpaying for players.

        It’s not sustainable. You can’t have one guy on the pitch making $8M passing the ball to a guy making $80K. And so long as the league is addicted to expansion fee money, they aren’t going to figure out how to actually operate at a profit. It’s basically a pyramid scheme.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Kind of throws a wrench in your theory when 3 of the MLS franchises you personally point out as being great, also happen to be recently expanded into the league. You could probably add Montreal to your list. So…. would you be willing to admit tht perhaps if MLS uses the same care in considering new ownership/franchises as it has these…. it could actually help strengthen MLS?

          • BamaMan says:

            Except that MLS has clearly not used the same care with the addition of NYCFC (aka the PR wing of the repressive UAE regime), a club no one in NY cares about. At least with the Cosmos, there would have been some history with the brand and some tradition. My point is not that expansion is always bad; my point is that MLS built its brand with smart expansion into niche markets that had a history of supporting soccer. They could have embraced a city that truly cares about its lower division side in Orlando; instead they took the easy oil money (without even getting the stadium deal completed).

    • Eugene says:

      Have to agree. I thought he would at least vie for more playing time and moving up at Spurs. He was #3 in goals last season for them behind Bale and Jermaine Defoe, so if anything I would think he had a solid chance of moving higher on their “striker priority list”. It’s hard to imagine what the exact effect of the Bale war chest would have, considering that move hasn’t been completed and new players haven’t been brought in. But for Clint, this kind of situation between seasons was something he was more or less used to at Fulham, and having to prove himself to a coach… why couldn’t/wouldn’t he do that again at Tottenham. And if not Tottenham, why not go to Italy to play for one of the top teams there?

      I’m with Klinsmann, I think this is hugely disappointing. I want to hear what CD has to say about this move and why he made it, and I’m hoping to hear Jurgen’s thoughts on this also. Lots of exercise and competition or not within MLS, he is not going to be as sharp one year from now as he would have been competing with some of the best players in the world, both in the EPL and in Europa.

      • MesaATLien says:

        “Lots of exercise and competition or not within MLS, he is not going to be as sharp one year from now as he would have been competing with some of the best players in the world.”

        So going to Seattle is going to make him forget how to play his own brand of soccer?

        Another thing in regards to going to Italy, packing up and moving to another country isn’t easy when you have a family. I love how people are conveniently forgetting this.

    • 2tone says:

      Waaaa. Waaaaaaa. waaaaa.

    • slowleftarm says:

      You think playing in front against some of these bottom half teams in the EPL is that amazing? Oh, how will Clint live without playing the likes of Stoke, Norwich, Hull and West Brom? Stuff isn’t better just because it’s foreign.

      • Matt says:

        Bleh, he is talking primarily about the EPL and the typical environment there (although it is amusing to me considering most English EPL fans I know think that London clubs lack environment). Funny to me as well, since the envionment here in Spain at Real, Barcelona’s and Atletico’s matches is similar to the US environment. The Spanish fans considred the visiting EPL fans “vomiting tourists” during the Champions League .

  20. Mike says:

    I’m still shocked out of my mind by this. As far as my thoughts? I’m going to wait until I read what that guy from El Paso has to say…then I’ll go from there. He’s the only voice of reason on this site these days.

    • Dimidri says:

      need new sss for crew fire portland seattle need get 50k sss downtown now lets get ronaldinho and drogba and kaka.

      close?

      • Mike says:

        perfect

      • beto says:

        lol; that will do!

      • Left Coast Bias says:

        No. 50,000 is too small. We’re averaging almost that now.

        Would need to be bigger, and which buildings are you going to knock down to make it happen. There’s no space for it.

        Better plan would be for the other football team to move to Renton or somewhere and build a new 70,000 seat stadium leaving C-Link to us.

  21. Brad C says:

    Leave MLS out of it, sure it’s better but it’s obviously not as competitive as the EPL, and Deuce is obviously and unarguably making a move to a less competitive league. I think a lot of Clint fans, like myself, are sad because he was our “bell cow”, the player that we can tell the world is just as good as the average player from their country, and the proof is that he’s scoring goals for Tottenham. It’s like your genius son transferring from Harvard back home to your local “state” college.

    • 2tone says:

      And that is why you fail! Your inferiority complex betrays you.

      • Brad C says:

        You are crazy if you think the MLS is as competitive as the major leagues in Europe.

        • Left Coast Bias says:

          You’re crazy if you think playing for West Brom (one of Dempsey’s would be suitors) is better than playing for Seattle.

          • Brad C says:

            Then I’m as crazy as you. Over there he’s playing against ManU, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham, and other teams which are (almost all) better competition than MLS teams…

            • Left Coast Bias says:

              And he’s been there done that. He’s 30. He’s at his peak.

              He’s not going to get much better than he already is.

              And Donovan proved he won’t get much worse playing in MLS.

              There is not ONE serious footballing nation in the world which doesnt have some of its best players playing in its domestic league.

              Eurosnobs need to grow up, eat your crow, stop hating and learn to love MLS not for what its not, but for what it is: our top division domestic league.

              No different than Japan or Russia at this point: Dempsey transfer fee proves it.

              • Brad C says:

                The issue isn’t about getting better, it’s about maintaining what he’s got, and most people agree that is accomplished by playing against the best competition.

                Why does the USA play tough teams for friendlies? Same reason. If it didn’t matter than we would be scheduling friendlies against Guyana and Fiji.

              • slowleftarm says:

                While Brad and eurosnobs may have a point with younger players, Deuce isn’t getting any better at 30 and this is a great chance to ensure he gets playing time and makes bank. I think it’s win win for everyone involved, including fans of US Soccer. Except those US fans with an inferiority complex.

              • EspinDOHla says:

                Left Coast, grow up.

                You say people (or Eurosnobs as you call them) need to “learn to love the MLS”. However, several post above you diss an MLS fan for being a PDX fan that isn’t from PDX…someone who is supporting an MLS team!!!

                Can’t have your cake and eat it too man.

              • Paul says:

                Left Coast,

                You are so annoying and immature! This coming from a MLS fan. Just stop posting until you grow up, seriously.

      • maverickman874 says:

        But the MLS is inferior in every way

  22. Ah says:

    Great post. I’d have loved to have seen him play Champions League but its a huge coup for Seattle and I look forward to watching him play there.

    To be honest, at first my reaction to the move was more negative because I generally think our best players should get better by challenging themselves against the best competition. But thinking on it, at 30 Dempsey pretty much is the final product, technically and otherwise. I don’t think it hurts him and he’ll be guaranteed to start and get quality minutes. And as Ives says, it’s really a great statement for MLS.

    Can’t wait to see how the fans receive him for the first home game he plays. Should be special.

  23. Coach says:

    This is good for everyone involved. Deuce was way down the current depth chart at Spurs. Attacking players need p/t and confidence. At 30, while still at a high level, he is likely just past his very best, and is at somewhat of a crossroads. Some players around this age hang it up at the int’l level to maintain a club career at the highest level (Scholes, Friedel come to mind). Others take a step down at the club level and maintain productive int’l careers (Keane, Cahill). And of course, you have to factor in the money and the fact that he’s coming “home.”

    • Brad C says:

      Was he really coming “home”? He was in England since 2006 and it’s probably where his kids grew up.

  24. BamaMan says:

    This move was good for Clint Dempsey as a person. How can you turn down 50,000 fans in your home country and $8M per year? As a player, that’s tougher to tell. Playing time on turf vs. probably not getting much playing time at Spurs. For whatever reason, AVB just had little faith in Dempsey. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Dempsey move to an elite Bundesliga or Serie A side. I think his skills would translate well in both countries. But I doubt Spurs could have gotten $8M for him and no way he would have been pulling down $8M per year. Bottom line – I think Dempsey made the right move getting out of Tottenham. I’m not sure if he made the right move coming to MLS but I don’t know how many options he really had.

    • Dimidri says:

      My only question is this-had no other teams paid Spurs what they wanted and Dempsey had said he didn’t want to come back to MLS, would Spurs have held onto him and just played him however little they told him they would or would they have tried finding a team in England or elsewhere willing to come closest to what they wanted?

      • Mike O says:

        Money talks. Just another greedy athlete.

        • MemRook says:

          And what’s he supposed to do? Play for free? Play on a team that clearly doesn’t have him in their plans? So sit on a bench for relatively the same amount of dough?

          It’s easy to make statements like yours but given the same opportunity to improve your lifestyle and make more money I guarantee you take the same deal.

        • slowleftarm says:

          Yeah he should give up millions to placate eurosnobs. Makes sense.

  25. Travis says:

    I get why people are upset he left Europe but ultimately he spent 7 years in Europe proving himself in its (arguably) biggest league and for the most part succeeded. He leaves Europe as the all time leading goal scorer in the EPL for Americans and I would imagine he is near the top in minutes for Americans. He played in the Europa League twice and played for a good Tottenham team. It is hard for us to say what the man should and shouldn’t do, he is 30 and has a family, maybe he wants to be back in the states. Obviously the money Seattle threw at him helped but I doubt that was the only reason. Also the people that bash MLS for getting retirement players and then hate on this move are so hypocritical it is cringeworth.

  26. Coach says:

    I know nothing about his family life, but he is American, and several media reports have suggested he’s happy to be back stateside.

  27. Mike O says:

    MLS is a piece of crap just creating new rules. Money always did and always will talk and that’s how this situation came about. I just hope that MLS does away with the allocation order or at the very least redrafts it to say “returning USMNT players who aren’t actively on the starting 11.” I hope he sucks.

  28. Travis in Miami says:

    To those against this move – the majority (not all) MLS detracters – I hope this wakes you up and your mind will be open to the MLS game. You need to realize like Deuce has that the league has changed and is an entertaining game. Us MLS fans will welcome you with open arms. Your support will result in even more growth in MLS and in turn the US Soccer program as a whole. You can do this – if you support the USMNT it’s the right thing to do.

    I believe that this move by Dempsey will in fact have this type of a result. One of the reason’s why I believe this may be the most important signing in league history. It directly speaks to USMNT teams fans that do not support MLS and it also will speak to those developing US players in the pipeline. Perhaps the Marcus Traceys and Mike Grellas will stay home in future instead of bumbling through mediocre European careers.

    100% excited about this move.

    • BamaMan says:

      I’m a USMNT fan who doesn’t follow MLS. This makes me want to keep an eye on Clint Dempsey is doing but it doesn’t make me any more likely to follow a league that has zero interest in developing support in the South, plays through the tournaments I actually follow (World Cup, Gold Cup, Euros) and whose championship takes place at the height of college football season. Don’t get me wrong – MLS is much improved over the era of Wizards and Fusion. And I’ve been impressed over the last decade with the way the league (in spite of its initial opposition) has embraced local traditions with teams like the Sounders, the Whitecaps, the Timbers, and others. But we are now moving back in the direction of the bad old days of the NASL. A plastic club backed by oil money in a market that hasn’t supported the team it has is team #20. Scheduling is making less and less sense. The gap between wages for players is growing wider and wider. And the league is looking to expand even more rather than building up the lower divisions (!). None of these are good signs. And none of these make the casual soccer fan without a local team more likely to support MLS.

      • Travis in Miami says:

        But Deuce has you lookin’. Mission accomplished.

        And one of the things I love about MLS is that after the WC/Euro games during the daytime…we get more soccer at night. How can that be bad?

        Do you only follow international soccer so you don’t have to worry about ownership of the club teams? Or do you only follow team that have owners from the respective nations the clubs are in?

        MLS does show interest in the south. Orlando, Atlanta, Tampa and Miami are all in the mix for expansion.

        The NASL and USL seem to be getting increased support financially with support of MLS and US Soccer and some are even building their own SSS. Teams have academies in place. Remember this process is still relatively in its beginning period relative to other leagues in the world. There’s been a lot accomplished so far – such as improved product on the pitch – but there are of course wrinkles to iron out.

        By the way, I think these issues you bring up are far from interesting to the casual soccer fan. The fact you are even aware of them show you are following the league in some way. Sounds like you just need a push. Perhaps when MB returns to an expansion team in your neck of the woods that could push you the remaining distance left after Deuce’s return.

        • BamaMan says:

          I follow the big picture in MLS because I wish the US had a legitimate soccer league and I hope MLS can one day develop into that. But I haven’t watched an MLS game this season other than Robbie Roger’s return for the Galaxy. I’m much less likely to pick up a team based on them splurging for a big name than I am for a team like Sporting KC for doing things the right way. But MLS ownership is now so addicted to expansion fees (and used to paying most players peanuts) that I think teams like NYCFC (and New Jersey Retirees FC as Miami’s new team should be called) are going to be the norm going forward. I’d rather see MLS work on developing a proper pyramid rather than engaging in the pyramid scheme of living off expansion fees.

      • bryan says:

        “I’m a USMNT fan who doesn’t follow MLS.”

        stopped reading after that.

        • EspinDOHla says:

          Why is this so hard to grasp? Until MLS gets teams in the South, it’s hard for us to get as excited as a person that can attend games week in and week out…or at least has a team in the state. It drives us crazy hearing the New Yorkers complain about taking a two hour train ride when the closest team to me is 10 hours away.

          I watch the MLS game of the week on NBCSN and/or ESPN every week and it’s awesome how much the game has grown since I started paying attention around 2001. However, that’s as much as I follow MLS. (Which I guess is a lot more than some folks) But, you can’t fault folks for not being passionate about MLS when there isn’t even a team in the entire region.

          • EspinDOHla says:

            **awaiting moderation** for “p@ssionate”!?!?!

            Why is this so hard to grasp? Until MLS gets teams in the South, it’s hard for us to get as excited as a person that can attend games week in and week out…or at least has a team in the state. It drives us crazy hearing the New Yorkers complain about taking a two hour train ride when the closest team to me is 10 hours away.

            I watch the MLS game of the week on NBCSN and/or ESPN every week and it’s awesome how much the game has grown since I started paying attention around 2001. However, that’s as much as I follow MLS. (Which I guess is a lot more than some folks) But, you can’t fault folks for not being p@ssionate about MLS when there isn’t even a team in the entire region.

        • EspinDOHla says:

          **awaiting moderation** for “p@ssionate”!?!?!

          Why is this so hard to grasp? Until MLS gets teams in the South, it’s hard for us to get as excited as a person that can attend games week in and week out…or at least has a team in the state. It drives us crazy hearing the New Yorkers complain about taking a two hour train ride when the closest team to me is 10 hours away.

          I watch the MLS game of the week on NBCSN and/or ESPN every week and it’s awesome how much the game has grown since I started paying attention around 2001. However, that’s as much as I follow MLS. (Which I guess is a lot more than some folks) But, you can’t fault folks for not being p@ssionate about MLS when there isn’t even a team in the entire region.

          • EspinDOHla says:

            Sorry for the double post but Ives you have got to fix this moderation thing.My post gets tagged for using the word “p@ssionate”. What is that?!?!

            Any time you have a post “awaiting moderation” you miss out on the conversation aspect of this site because by the time the post gets approved, it’s most likely moved along to the next topic.

          • bryan says:

            do we know there isn’t a team in his region? i did @ssume there was and he was just choosing to not support it.

            there is absolutely something to be said about people who don’t have a team anywhere near them. i agree with that.

          • whoop-whoop says:

            Good point. I can understand it being difficult when there is no local team in the league to support, but….. this argument loses some weight when you then support a Club half way across the globe.

            • EspinDOHla says:

              I agree with you on this.

            • Kevin_H says:

              There are likely many fans in the same boat as me. I don’t regularly watch MLS, partly because I don’t feel a connection with any of the teams, but mainly because I want to watch the highest quality of football. I’m more likely to tune into a Sunderland game this season and root for Jozy as he plays against world class defenses, or watch Tottenham battle for a Champion’s League spot as Deuce’s arrival sparked my interest in that team. While I do hope MLS continues to grow, I’m simply not that interested. That said, I’ll probably try to tune into a Sounders vs. Galaxy match (Deuce vs. Donovan!)

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          bryan: I wouldn’t understand your disapproval, even if BamaMan lived a block from CenturyLink. USMNT and MLS are totally different competitions, and the reasons for being entertained by one may not be there for the other.

          • Travis in Miami says:

            But the two are connected. Where would the US program be without MLS? This mere fact alone should have all USMNT fans goo goo ga ga for MLS – NASL, USL for that matter. Just because the US doesn’t do it like other countries doesn’t mean they do the only way that works. That’s simply ridiculous.

            I live in Miami. I love MLS. Don’t have a team here…

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              Definitely connected. And I certainly see why a fan of one would be drawn to the other. I just don’t see how it’s necessarily a package deal—you must love both or hate both.

              And yes, the USMNT draws a lot of strength from MLS. By analogy, the big summer blockbuster movies are what keeps studios and theaters in business, but that doesn’t mean that a Wes Anderson fan must also be a Michael Bay fan. (Don’t take that analogy too far: I am NOT comparing MLS or USMNT to Michael Bay!)

              (I’m not sure if your “Just because the US doesn’t do it like other countries” comment was in response to me or someone else.)

            • BamaMan says:

              Look, I don’t despise MLS but I’m not a “fan” of any sports league and anyone who is is an idiot. There are only two reasons to watch a sports event – 1) it’s the best product out there; 2) you’ve got a rooting interest in a participant team or player. MLS is not the best product out there but that could be overcome except I have no rooting interest in any team. I want USMNT players to do well inasmuch as that helps that USMNT. I want MLS teams to do well in CONCACAF CL and their failure to do so illustrates the hurdles that remain for the league.

              But I have zero skin in the MLS game. The TV scheduling is all over the map, mostly on channels I don’t have; there isn’t a team within 10 hours of me; the regular season is meaningless; and the postseason is a convoluted mess that takes place in the heart of college football season. Folks in Denmark or Ukraine or wherever don’t follow their national league out of misplaced patriotism; they do so because they have a local team they care about and the league results affects that team. Until MLS gets to that point, it’s going to be struggle to break out outside of a handful of places.

  29. FCA says:

    You could make a very valid argument that this transfer to MLS INCREASES his chances to play Champions League soccer. As everyone seems to have agreed, he has at least 2-3 more years of quality left in him.

    With consistent playing time, a well built reputation in Europe, and a pending World Cup to show he still has it, it is not far fetched to say he has two 3 month loans in his future to help Champions League clubs that are either lacking quality players or is bitten with the injury bug.

    It would be the cheapest and most inexpensive way to add a player of Dempsey like quality to a roster. With games in the Champions League being worth big time money for these clubs it would only take some jersey sales and a goal or assist for the club to get their money back on the deal.

    Say I’m crazy? Seattle has proven to all of us that nothing is crazy anymore.

    • Paul says:

      I couldn’t agree more. MLS ends in a couple of months. Now Dempsey is in the driver’s seat in deciding which loan offers he accepts, if any.

  30. Jay says:

    I think what’s funny is that if he makes this move after the world cup are any of you guys complaining? No you wouldn’t. You would want him to come back. And for those who think he would have got quality pt time at Tottenham your nuts. They just bought the third leading scorer in La Liga. With Defoe and Adebyor already ahead of him. So while its shocking it makes sense if you look at the big picture.

  31. Gabe says:

    Initially, this move left a cold pit in my stomach. However, this was an emotional reaction rather than a purely mental one.

    I think that, ever since he took over as the best American outfield player in England from Brian McBride, Clint has been a sort of emotional standard bearer for USMNT fans. When talking to my European friends about the beautiful game, I could proudly point to Clint’s performances against some of the best (i.e. Juventus match, Chelsea matches, Manchester United, etc.) and state with pride that we could produce elite players that are right up there with some of the best. For some of us, we are so used to thinking of Dempsey as OUR player abroad flying the flag for us in a way few others aside from goalkeepers have that we have neglected to see the vanguard of youth sweeping Europe. We remember the Texan who squared up to Micah Richards and Craig Bellamy without fear. We still see the images of a swaggering Yank beating his chest after a wonder volley against Stoke. We remember the countless points to the sky after yet another clutch goal in a critical situation. We remember the way he clawed into lineups after numerous managerial changes, winning over fans that were reluctant to embrace him. We remember him playing with black eyes and throwing his body into the box with reckless abandon. We felt like he was doing it for all of us. For some of us, Clint is like a member of our royal family that can do little wrong. We almost need to see him continue to prove his naysayers wrong, because we feel it somehow proves the elite football community wrong about all of us in terms of our game here stateside.

    What these overly emotional fans like me fail to realize is that, like it or not, Clint is getting older. He is an elite player for us, and yes he could be a squad player at Tottenham or perhaps a starter at a place like Everton. But why? His dream of Champion’s League glory is not worth the dip in form he would experience by being thrust into yet another dogfight for a position in the side, one that seems less and less likely with the infusion of new Spurs talent and youth. Clint, as much as he is our Knight, will not be the same player to a top 4 team at his age that he could have been if he were say five-years younger. Additionally, the process of moving to another mid-table (upper or lower) team like Everton makes little sense. Yes, the standard is higher than MLS, but he would still need to take a good half-season establishing himself there. Combine that with moving his family to a place like Liverpool, uprooting them to another temporary home, and you can see why Clint may be less inclined to make that move.

    Finally, we must come to grips with the reality that MLS is not the place it used to be. Players like Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry continue to laud the league for its improvements and have been candid in discussing the challenges of playing in MLS. Is it the EPL? Of course not. However, there are players there that maintain their standard of excellence despite the drop in overall player talent (Landon Donovan, Matt Besler, Gonzalez, Keane, Henry, and others). The way Landon played this Gold Cup and the way he has always played speak volumes to the way a player can remain sharp there. Additionally, Clint has always seemed to have an inner fire that perhaps players like Landon have a hard time maintaining. I doubt Clint will turn into an unmotivated, dull-edged player. In reality, Clint will play a role in Seattle quite like the role he plays for the USMNT: focal point and main asset. This can perhaps help him leading up to the World Cup more than hurt him. I think it is time for the emotional fan like myself to realize that there are others to carry that banner of ours abroad like General Bradley, Altidore, and the German-Americans (who we need to start embracing as our own). We can weep for the loss of our swagger-king, of our Dark Knight who has been the embodiment of our hopes and dreams to see America respected abroad, but also rejoice that, perhaps, the torch of those feelings needed to be passed anyway. Clint will continue to be fantastic for us here in the USA, and this world cup, perhaps, we will see a US team stronger than ever because of it.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Plus there’s the fact that Spurs aren’t in the Champions League and are far from a lock to get there next season.

  32. Bac says:

    Twellman the genius tweeting Klinsmann is unhappy…

    Once the reasoning settles in.. then let’s wait and see what JK has to say…

    My bet is he’ll say something positive, and push for a loan at a top club club at season’s end

  33. dawwilly says:

    Ives,

    This is one your best pieces of the year. I think you really summed up the situation well. The other sites and soccer writers should sit back a take lesson. SBI’s reporting on this story really surpassed everyone else’s in terms of thorough analysis and objectivity. I do personally think Spurs will come calling during the winter transfer window. I disagree with observers that say he didn’t fit with Villa Boas’s scheme. Personally as a fan of Spurs I find them to be a club with perplexing management decisions. They put themselves in a corner and then panic. I think once they realize how the absence of Dempsey’s never say die attitude, clutch play, versatility,and lead by example attitude affect their team chemistry they will think twice about this move. Frankly Liverpool could have used him too. They are another ruderless ship. The EPL is a great league, but it is losing out somewhat to the Bundesliga. I also think Serie A is also making a resurgence.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      This article was great. His truly prophetic article comparing Klinsmann’s Germany team to hi US team prior to the Germany match – following the Belgium debacle – was my all time favorite from him.

  34. Bac says:

    In the end I bet AVB will be the one standing out in the cold

  35. beto says:

    So excited about this move! if only he was going to my team instead of a conference rival…

    so much for that “pipe dream” Ives?!? – jk, no one could have actually believed the rumors before this happened.

  36. Brain Guy says:

    An accomplished striker from a good team in a top-tier European league decides to move to MLS. Isn’t that the dream scenario the league has been hoping for? It’s great news for MLS and especially for Seattle. Not so good for my Red Bulls, but competition is competition. Maybe it will spur (no pun intended) RBNY to improve.

    That said, it’s a big risk for Dempsey. I have deep respect for his concern about moving his family, but he abandoned his stated dream of playing in the CL rather quickly, didn’t he? Say what you will about the improving quality of MLS, but it’s still a far, far cry from other leagues where Dempsey could have plied his trade — maybe not for a CL-likely squad (at least not at first), but there’s no indication he even considered that. And let’s not discount the risks of playing on artificial turf (I know, Seattle folks, it’s super-duper space-age artificial turf, but it’s still not grass) and of playing in a league where three guys just got suspended in the same week for reckless tackles. I know the PL is tough, but MLS still struggles with an undercurrent of bad/reckless actors.

    Finally, is there any risk re: his standing with Klinsmann? Or is Dempsey more or less immune from JK’s “you haven’t done anything yet” attitude?

    • Adam says:

      The US needs its top players playing in at least Liga MX.

      • John says:

        MLS could easily pass Liga MX in the next 5 years.

        • Adam says:

          Could, but we need Libertadores finals and winning a Copa Sudamericana, then and only then we will surpass Liga MX. Also, can we one day win a CONCACAF Champons League? Until then Liga MX is better. Facts are facts, don’t you agree?

  37. bottlcaps says:

    Little or no mention is made of the fact that the TV rights for the MLS are up and to be renegotiated in 2014. Right now they are dismal. The Warner Cable deal with only the Galaxy is almost in the same range as the WHOLE MLS league rights.

    I think the MLS needed some more chips on their table going into negotiations.

    IMHO, ESPN has been the villain. They have steadfastly refused to market their MLS property like they have with other sports properties. very little adverts and hype, moving around schedules and games. Their rating should/should be higher. Thank goodness the NBC sports net have entered the broadcast circus for soccer. Not only have their overall ratings been higher than ESPN for the MLS, but they have added extra features to coverage.

    But I think the MLS was worried that without Beckham the leverage they have had, would evaporate. The league now is better and different than when Beckham entered. More teams, larger attendance, better player from home and abroad. But without a marquis star, besides the aging Thierry Henry. The MLS would have fewer good cards to play.

    The fact that the Galaxy have not pulled the trigger for any new star, NO Lampard, no Drogba, no KaKa, No Dos Santos. there are some that feel that the Galaxy and the MLS are losing their “cache’” to the lure in the casual “not soccer savvy” sports enthusiasts to view MLS games.

    The MLS need household names to capture the new viewers, expand the ratings and bring in the big TV bucks.

    With the Dempsey signing, It’s a good start. But teams like the Galaxy need to bring in the Stars BEFORE the negotiations begin. The LA Galaxy are losing money from the deal with Warner Cable, every game they do not have their (preferably) Hispanic football star they promised in negotiating the deal with time-Warner Cable.

    Instead of the 1-3 million teams are getting from the current TV rights deals, imagine the prospects for the league when they start getting 10-15 or even 20 million per team.

    You can raise the salary limits, better player retention, more attractive playing soccer with real gifted star players. It is the “nest level” the MLS aspires to attain, but not achievable with paltry TV rights money.

    Even at 10 million per team, the rights money received would be considered “coffee” money to the other sports franchises who get considerably more. Even college football programs in the PAC12 or Big-12 get 10-40 million a year in rights fees back from the NCAA.

    MLS 2.0 starts with the signing of Clint Demsey, but it can only be achieved when the MLS sits down with the various media representatives starting this year to hammer out a rights deal that would truly move the MLS in an upward progression.

    • RB says:

      “Little or no mention is made of the fact that the TV rights for the MLS are up and to be renegotiated in 2014.”

      ?

      That’s all we hear about lately, every time you read or listen to some report on expansion, especially.

    • The Squad says:

      Clint helps.

      Seattle draws.

      NYFC and the ‘second division’ Cosmos in the fold.

      ‘Cup year and the inevitable boost that follows.

      Rumors of Beckham, Miami and Rinaldo

      Seattle/LA rivalry/Northwest rivalries

      The Dempsey signing is huge, unfortunately, the term “Seattle Sounders” (for all of it’s soccer-related glory) won’t sell MLS to the country alone.

      The proper distribution of captions, snapshots and various video of a demonstrative Clint in front a packed house of adoring fans will…

      As far as negotiation with the behemoth that is ESPN. 9 times out of 10 they have been hot and heavy over recent years.

      Garber: “Why don’t I see any MLS people up on the wall”

      ESPN: “Give me Michael Jordan”

      Hence-Clint Dempsey Eddie Johnson Brad Evans and saturday night soccer.

      With the announcement of expansion, one must think the league is preparing for things such increased DPs and major sponsorship partners in terms of apparel and stadium this and that….

  38. Brad C says:

    The biggest loser in this whole thing? UnderAmour. Lets see how bad their sales of Tottenham jerseys and t-shirts drop off.

  39. DP in ATL says:

    Great article Yves. As someone who didn’t initially understand the move, I appreciate the effort to understand rather than critique — at least not yet — Deuce’s decision. This is the sort of insight that keeps me an avid member of the SBI mafia.

  40. CD9 says:

    I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see our national team being composed more and more of MLS players and…WINNING! To me this is a big step towards our development as a soccer nation.

    • CD9 says:

      To me it makes our success on the international stage all the sweeter. That we don’t need the validation of playing in Europe to know that we have great talent.

  41. Span says:

    My first reaction to this move, like many others, was a bit negative. However, after reflecting on it a bit I can understand why Dempsey would want to do this. First, I think he probably knew that his options and his playing time at Tottenham was going to be declining. Second, there probably weren’t any champions league teams in Italy or Germany looking for a 30-year-old player and willing to pay an $8 million transfer fee and his wages. Juventus, Milan, and Napoli aren’t in the market for a guy like deuce (too much $ for a guy his age). And I don’t think Bayern or Dortmund would be either.

    Third, I’m sure that Dempsey has an ego, and probably wants to be “the man.” Seattle provides a great environment (turf not included) and great pay. Further, I imagine that he will see a boost in promotional opportunities. He has five or six years of top level soccer left. Why not spend it in his home country as a superstar, Instead of going from team to team in Europe chasing fleeting CL glory.

    As for Klinsmann, he can like it or not but at the end of the day it’s Demoseys choice. He still going to start in Brazil in 2014, After that, it’s pretty likely that both may be gone by the time wc 2018 comes around.

  42. bryan says:

    i can understand his decision, i can understand the excitement, and i can understand JK’s issue. everyone has a point. but it’s done. i’m going to enjoy it!

  43. Ty Judd says:

    I don’t understand this. I don’t know his personal situation, so there may be more to this. But he was playing in the the best domestic league in the world. He worked hard. He got his minutes. I support the MLS and I am glad that the league continues to get better. But Dempsey was the leader of the American soccer player that were/are making strides into the big leagues. The MLS provides minutes, yes, but it doesn’t provide the quality that the World Cup opposition will give. He’s 30 but still had a couple of years left in him. And before you say that the MLS hasn’t hurt Donovan, who is one of the best American soccer players ever, I can only imagine how much better he would have been had he stayed in England and played against the best competition week after week. This is great for MLS, but maybe a slight step backward for Dempsey and his continued growth.

  44. MikeG says:

    Dempsey playing in EPL has developed him into a more complete player. MLS will have limits should Dempsey have stayed in MLS the last 7 years. Champions League would have given Dempsey a new level of confidence. Dempsey probably has nothing to prove to himself, but I subscribe to you never stop learning despite any age. I think this has more to do with money than anything else. Seattle needs a new coach and one with a more acute tactical sense. No more EPL style of play in MLS.

  45. Ando says:

    Im not disappointed that Deuce left London and Europe to come back to MLS “early.” My beef with the situation is that he went to “them.” lol.

    I am happy that a player like Dempsey is making a historic move for the league, forgoing his dream of Champions League soccer to be the face of MLS. I did not think he had a poor season when you consider he did not have a preseason with Spurs and had to fight for minutes in different positions with more lauded players. He should easily be the best player in the league because of age, skill, and experience.

    Nevertheless, I wish it that he had went to Houston/Dallas or New York (for my selfish reasons). I applaud Dempsey and Seattle for this move, but I cant bear to see Deuce in Rave Green. Its going to be hard to root against Clint. This will be fun.

    • MesaATLien says:

      He wanted to go to a team in Texas to be even closer to home, but they didn’t have the money.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I can think of three teams that could afford this from a cost-benefit perspective, LA, NY, and Seattle.

        As a Dynamo fan if you lumped the pointless cap numbers for Cummings, Ching, and Weaver you’d be in the neighborhood of a DP hit for Dempsey. What we could not afford businesswise is the fee plus the salary not counted on the cap……but I remember the days when sports were more a vanity project and the owner might take a business loss to have player x in town. I kinda wish the Dynamo just said eff it and did a capital call and signed him because he might be the last piece we’d need to win.

  46. Bac says:

    Ok,the score is now 5-1 Monaco over Spurs..

    Can we start the “They cant win without Deuce thread?”

    No reason we cant have a little light hearted fun here fellas

    • fleninho says:

      +1
      Ended up 5-2 Monaco. The 2 were scored by Kane and Andros Townsend, and that maybe underscores what Deuce was facing– a lot of talent on the squad.

      I don’t know how Dempsey psyches himself up as a competitor, but he is at a crossroads when AVB tells him something like, “Deuce, I love your moves, and your WCQ goal shows me you will give us some goals that Gareth gets. I’m going to give you lots of chances this season. Every game I need a couple of guys to contribute, out of you, Defoe, Chadli, Sigurdsson or Holtby. If Gareth and Adebayor go, we’ll need 3 of you.” Spurs training will be interesting and dramatic, and their season has a lot of promise. The fight for 3rd or 4th in EPL is a mite more exciting than the fight for 3rd or 4th in MLS. But Dempsey may know his confidence will take a hit if he stays at Tottenham.

      He could reasonably say, stay in London and get total contracts of $20-22m over the next four years. Or take the $32m that the Sounders are guaranteeing.

  47. Jason says:

    I will miss the early morning Tottenham games…on the west coast, you either go to sleep early and then wake up, or just stay awake will 3am which is not as easy as it seems. As a quakes fan, I look forward to Goodsen and Bernardez’ defending against Deuce…He and Bernardez had some chippy moments that WCQ away at HON, but then, Bernardez is yappy at the least.

  48. H-Town says:

    Ives, you shut down Garrett pretty hard in the last podcast about the Dempsey rumors. Looks like someone owes a public apology to a redhead Arizonan, even if God does punish him.

  49. Bill W. says:

    I think Duece will be playing in Europe during the MLS off-season before the 2014 World Cup.

    • John says:

      I’d almost rather Dempsey, Donovan and Zusi go to the January camp. Donovan went to England to see where his game was at, then went back because he enjoyed it. I think the more time Dempsey Donovan Zusi and even EJ can get together under Klinsmanns direction would be more productive.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      There is an interesting, broader question of whether you call in all the serious MLS pool guys instead of having the usual January tryout camp. Donovan, EJ, Zusi, etc.

      It might depend on how quick we clinch, who makes the MLS playoffs, etc.

      • John says:

        I think the more time you can get any potential first team players together before Brazil the better.

  50. Brain Guy says:

    He can possibly hurt my Red Bulls only a couple of times a year (a couple of regular-season games, maybe Open Cup, *maybe* MLS Cup final). So besides a little jealousy, I guess it’s not so bad after all.

  51. Mike R says:

    Apparetly when he looke around Seattle he didn’t notice the artificial turf that will ruin his 30 yr old knees prematurely if he doesn’t get hacked into retirement sooner.

    Love Clint, stupid move. Maybe he’s getting a free price is right shirt

  52. Glenn says:

    (I’m an Evertonian)

    I now suspect/realize that the Everton rumor was probably a cover story/smoke screen for his across-water-flight to SF. Still, I would have really liked the move to Everton. Call me nuts, but I feel it would have given Deuce an outside chance at CL and put him with a “blue” collar team that would appreciate his work ethic. He would have been a great replacement for Osman in a CM role, and with their new faces – it just might have worked. We’ll never know. Good luck, Deuce!

  53. Adam says:

    I guess this move was based on his awful performance in the last qualifier against Honduras. He was had by the Honduran defense and midfield. It sometimes feels he loses his finesse touch when the hacking begins; same as Dovenan who by the way also plays in MLS. Michael Bradley is our best rep in international club level.

  54. John says:

    So can he play tonight? I feel like that’s a dumb question but also kind of want to know. haha

  55. The Imperative Voice says:

    Seattle has been this well-attended well-funded team where it was amazing they’d not accomplished more. Put EJ and Dempsey up top and this is a contender again. They needed to do something dramatic and this makes them irrelevant.

    Tottenham did not have him in their serious plans. As a CFC fan, AVB has stupid plans. But no sense fighting them.

    If he’d never left Fulham or Spurs treated him right I don’t think he’d be back. London has great schools and one assumes he could have found a destination with good schools, including a local American school if necessary, if this was about the kids. He’s only got a few years left so I don’t see where he was in a rush to come home.

    But if you want to maintain NT leadership — and I thought he was a little less effective in the spring — he needs to play regularly and be trusted by the boss. He could have made a big money move in Europe but it would have had the same playing time risks, which he doesn’t need in a World Cup year. He could have made a downward English move but then you’re playing on some struggling team lucky to get in Europe, who probably can’t pay much different than a DP deal. Going to Seattle and getting PT and trying to get them their first strikes me as a wise way to prepare for the World Cup, and he can go back to England on loan in the winter just the same if he so desires…..although he could also maybe just rest and play in the January camp then MLS preseason and such.

    Some of the prestige arguments are circular or not applicable. He wasn’t playing UEFACL anyway and might have had to risk PT to go to such a team. Some of the snob arguments against MLS assume it should stay second rate and not have aspirations. Like they’re not allowed to make dramatic signings. That’s the only way the gap closes. Seattle has a decent coach in Schmid, stability in leadership, has been competitive most years, and was probably treading water on purpose the first half of the season waiting to make this kind of move. Turf might not be ideal but getting Dempsey back in the league is a feather in our cap if we can keep him healthy on that surface.

  56. Philadelphia Collins says:

    What’s the projected line-up now for the sounders with Dempsey in the team?

    • The Other Jeff says:

      Locks to start: Oba, Dempsey, EJ, Evans, Alonso, Yedlin, Traore, Gspurning. I won’t diagram nor break out mids from forwards, because who knows how Sigi will sort out the formation? But these are players who have to be on the field.

      That’s 8 spots locked down.

      Sixth attacking spot (assuming 4 in the back) comes from Neagle, Zakuani, Rosales, Burch, Caskey, Carrasco, Joseph, Rose, Estrada, Lund, Zavaleta. Looks like some surplus there that could be used to bulk up the defense.

      LB Leo Gonzales or Burch.

      FO has been shopping for another CB so stay tuned – until then you have Hurtado, backed by Ianni. Yedlin backed up by Scott.

      Solid starters and good depth everywhere but the back line, which could use an upgrade at CB and arguably LB plus more depth.

    • The Other Jeff says:

      (repost due to moderation)

      Locks to start: Oba, Dempsey, EJ, Evans, Alonso, Yedlin, Traore, Gspurning. I won’t diagram nor break out mids from forwards, because who knows how Sigi will sort out the formation? But these are players who have to be on the field.

      That’s 8 spots locked down.

      Sixth attacking spot (@ssuming 4 in the back) comes from Neagle, Zakuani, Rosales, Burch, Caskey, Carrasco, Joseph, Rose, Estrada, Lund, Zavaleta. Looks like some surplus there that could be used to bulk up the defense.

      LB Leo Gonzales or Burch.

      FO has been shopping for another CB so stay tuned – until then you have Hurtado, backed by Ianni. Yedlin backed up by Scott.

      Solid starters and good depth everywhere but the back line, which could use an upgrade at CB and arguably LB plus more depth.

      • Pingunça says:

        One fix… If he can stay healthy– Ianni backed by Hurtado .

        Sounders just missed out on Chen -to Malaga- so any CB coming in would be challenging for Hurtado’s spot

        IMO

  57. BOYD says:

    So, he forces his move to an CL team by refusing to play and after a few months he realizes he’s not that good and moves back home with his tail between his legs.
    That’s class right there.

  58. stargate1 says:

    It does not matter really where he plays. He is not a big impact player or someone who can lift USMNT to a higher level. It is good for him that he takes the money and his family will be secured financially. USMNT aint going to the cup quarter or semi w/ or w/o Clint. As for his future, really what can he accomplish by playing 2 or 3 more years on EPL ?

  59. JF says:

    MLS signing Dempsey is all about image and making a statement. And the statement MLS is making is this: MLS is a good enough league now that it America’s most accomplished player can return to the league in his prime.

    Except this is a lie. Because the reality is, MLS is a league where the majority of players are on League 1 wages.

    It’s all about image.

  60. The Other Jeff says:

    On the hot seat: Sigi Schmid. No more excuses. Four current internationals: Dempsey, Oba, EJ, Evans. One future international: Yedlin. Alonso, who could be today if Cuba would release him. Several more former internationals: Traore, Rosales, Gspurning, Joseph (and in the background Hahnemann). If the rumors are true, management isn’t done yet, CB to come. One of the best home-field advantages in the world.

  61. John says:

    I think a lot of coaches like the numbers Dempsey put up but it so hard to say where Dempsey really fits into a line up. Never having a set position is what was always going to keep Dempsey from a Champions League roster. Coaches want players who fit there system. Even coming into Seattle I’m not real sure where he’ll end up lining up. Players like Altidore and even Shea I think have more potential in Europe because there’s no question where you line them up.

  62. Sean says:

    Great article except when they said his work ethic was never questioned. It has been, at times, especially on his defensive work.

    However, as someone very surprised about this move and wishing Dempsey had a better option in Europe, this is a great day for us MLS fans.

    Dempsey is a popular US player who has chosen to play in an excellent soccer market where he’ll be celebrated. He is getting paid a large sum of money in the domestic league, which is always positive for youth players who look at a career in soccer. He will get solid playing time as a starter and will likely be in strong form heading into the World Cup. Instead of possibly being burnt out from a long European season, he could be hitting his mid season stride when the World Cup it’s. MLS gets a little better with him in it. Who knows, maybe Donovan could be persuaded to stay now if LA ponies up the dough – could this salary force Donovan to demand more than he’s earning? Seattle’s owners, in my opinion, have made this move as a statement most of all. For Dempsey to be earning more than Donovan, Keane, Henry, DiVaio, Cahill, etc… It’s a statement, not necessarily logical. I think the owners are telling their fans, we will aggressively spend our money on players that improve the team, excite our fan base, and show our loyalty. I’m not sure this move will make the team a championship side, though.

    Dempsey also brings back strong experience to share with the club, players, fans, and homegrowns.

  63. Dennis says:

    This means that 10 of Ives projected 23 man 2014 WC roster will be playing in MLS.

  64. Sean says:

    Could Donovan be of interest to Tottenham? Man United? Everton?

  65. Thisten says:

    The real winner here is me! No more watching Clint burst through the box unmarked only to be ignored by Defoe as he uncorks another 30-yard blast into the stands.

  66. Scott says:

    Ives, your writing is not very good.

    Like the Dempsey move, though. He has proven he has what it takes to succeed wherever he has been. Plus, he is too old after Brazil anyways. As long as he is in form for the world cup in a year, more power to him.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Ives, ignore this buffoon. Your site is top notch and we’re all Iucky to have it.

      • Scott says:

        Agreed, good site. On my feedly reader for US soccer updates. Just think your writing is not very good, so what?

        Don’t know why that makes me a buffoon, but sure…

  67. Paul says:

    - Kudos to Ives for a well-written column. There’s a reason soccer fans flock to this site.
    - I don’t blame Dempsey for signing the lucrative contract. He has only a few more good years left.
    - Seattle and MLS understand his transfer fee and salary are worth more here because he is an American, and will fill seats and boost ratings. European teams won’t pay a fee that size for a 30 year old player.
    - When MLS finishes in a couple of months, Dempsey is in control and can choose whether to go back to Europe on loan, and which offer is best for him and his family.
    - This transaction sends a strong message to many of the other MLS franchises – adapt or fade. Ives mentions the notoriously cheap Kraft ownership of NE Revs, which hasn’t changed. They still have the same mindset today, and it shows with the leveling off of the fan base. They are now seeing newer MLS franchises such as Seattle surpass them.
    - Dempsey will be considered a trailblazer for future US players, thriving in an attacking role. Future EPL teams and other European leagues will be less hesitant to take a chance on a young US prospect that fit his mold.
    - It is a much more stable and visionary MLS than the one Dempsey left. Consider that the farm system and youth teams were virtually non-existent when he last played here.
    - Dempsey’s signing might start a trend. If a US player playing in Europe in his later years is undervalued overseas, he may find a home in MLS.
    - One wonders what Dempsey does in four years when he retires? Might he have sufficient funds to buy an ownership stake?

  68. Dreaderick says:

    Should have signed for Xolos

  69. Catenaccio says:

    I have a weird angle on all of this. I spent the last 17 years living in NYC and just moved to Seattle. I’ve been a Metros/Red Bulls fan in that time. Was happy when Red Bull bought the team and the new stadium. Always thought the matches between NY and DC were big rivalries even with 12,000 people in Giants Stadium. But when I got here and went to a match most of the country (especially the bloggers on the East Coast – minus Ives here of course who’s been here) have no idea how soccer-centric the Pacific Northwest really is. Soccer is the main sport here. When Forbes put out a list saying Seattle was the worst sports city in American no one cared because it didn’t take MLS or the Sounders into consideration in their decision. The Sounders are this city. I think Clint felt that energy when he got here and it just bit him like it’s bit me. I’ll always be a Metros fan ’til I die but the East Coast has no clue how good MLS is out here. It’s the top league and will be with the hope the rest of the countries markets catch up.

  70. gtv says:

    I’m with Klinsi – not a fan of this move. I get it from Deuce’s perspective. And Deuce will still be Deuce. He will play hard, scrap all the way and always be a factor in the USMNT. But there’s no way the MLS can prepare a player the way Europe can. From the intensity of practice and vying for PT, to the fan bases and ownership, to the academies and the football culture, Europe has that in way MLS never will. That’s why the European-based players are generally our A teamers and the MLSers are the B teamers.

    • Ivan says:

      Even if for the sake of discussion we accept everything you have said as given, it is irrelevant going forward. The situation is changing more rapidly than you imagine. I have lived in Seattle since 1966. The intrusion of big time soccer into the consciousness of the population here has always enjoyed steady growth, even after the collapse of the original NASL, but nothing could have prepared anyone for the events of the recent years — and certainly not those of the recent months.

      If anyone would have told me, even a year ago, that Seattle Sounders would use financial muscle to strongarm a La Liga team’s top scorer away from Spain and put him in a Sounders’ uniform, I would have called for the men in the white coats. Yet that is exactly what happened with Obafemi Martins.

      This ownership, quite clearly, has the long-term goal of making Seattle one of the world’s soccer capitals. Reasonable people might disagree as to whether that is realistic, or in any way attainable, but in an area where Microsoft and Amazon are dominant corporate cultures, it should not be surprising.

      Thanks to the satellite, I have been able to watch Spurs regularly, just to see how Clint could hold his own in the EPL. All the analyses I have read on this thread about whether this helps Clint or hurts him, whether it helps the USMNT or hurts it, are interesting, and entertaining. But they fail to take one thing into account.

      I think we can stipulate that top to bottom, EPL and UEFACL is the top competition in the world — at this moment. But mark my words, Clint’s move to MLS, and the Sounders’ move to get him here, have raised expectations to a level heretofore undreamed of, and those expectations can only lead to other personnel moves that will close the gap between MLS and EPL. Even if that gap never closes altogether, the effort toward that end — and the competition that it engenders — can only lift the game worldwide. This is only the first of many such moves — only the first. It is only a matter of time before MLS teams start signing 18- and 19-year-old Brazilians to long-term contracts, as Shakhtar Donetsk has done.

      Clint will be fine. Sounders will be fine. MLS will be fine. USMNT will be fine. Spurs will not be so fine. Let me leave the thread with one question I have not seen addressed: If I was Clint, and I saw Spurs not doing everything they could to keep Bale, why in hell would I want to stick around?

      • gtv says:

        As I said, I get it from Clint’s perspective.

        Interesting point about Seattle, the cultural buy-in with soccer, and the Microsoft analogy. I have seen videos of the fans in the NW and they are as close to the fan atmosphere of Europe as we will get in the MLS.

        But that does NOT make a soccer culture. Will parents in Seattle let their kids quit school to enter Sounders’ academy? Will the fan clubs organize and pressure the club ownership when they don’t like decisions being made? Will Sigi bench a star and throw him under the bus if he doesn’t perform well in practice? I doubt it. And that’s why Seattle and the MLS can never be anything like any European club, beyond the superficial level of the fans.

        • Ivan says:

          Please feel free to set your threshold for what defines a “soccer culture” wherever you wish. While you are doing so, others will define “soccer culture” for themselves, and not necessarily to your satisfaction.

          I watched games that the old NASL Seattle sounders played, against Giorgio Chinaglia and the old NY Cosmos, in the Kingdome before 43,000 screaming fans. The “soccer culture” of the present has surpassed that atmosphere by quantum leaps, and the ceiling is nowhere in sight. I feel confident in telling you that the goal of this ownership is to satisfy even fans with your threshold.

          As I see it, the only thing that might prevent that from happening is the relative lack of public ownership of clubs, and the lack of a relegation structure, such as the Euro and Latin American leagues have.

          I think one of the main contributors to the “soccer culture” that you speak of is the idea that any club can, theoretically at least, advance to the top flight. I would prefer it that structure existed here. It gives more fans, in more cities, more of a stake in a positive outcome for their local clubs.

      • EspinDOHla says:

        I agree with your post but you have to remember that Seattle is one of three teams that can do this and make the moves you describe. This is a benchmark move for MLS but even lower end EPL sides can make these moves. It’s going to be a very, very long time before lower end MLS teams are capable of bringing a player in like Clint. It’s moving in the right direction though.

  71. Crazyj says:

    For everyone that thinks the move to MLS will prevent Demosey from being an impact player in the World Cup I think it is importantly to look at past World Cups. We had a number of players playing in MLS that started in the 2002 World Cup and the league is miles better now. It also appears every World Cup we have at least one MLS player that is one of the best performers on the team. And yes I admit, I am a delusional MLS supporter!

  72. Jay Bonds says:

    Is Clint Dempsey really worth $8M a year? Well we’ll find out soon enough. He has Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson to work with, unlike when Beckham joined Galaxy. He has to deliver.

    • JF says:

      too much money for an MLS team to pay. Soccer is not a sport where you can put a great player on a team and then all of a sudden that team becomes great. Dempsey is making 8 mil and will be playing alongside players making 40k.

      This is a farcical wage structure.

  73. WolvesForever says:

    Anyone every consider taxes…he’s starting the winter of his career and in the end it’s about what you take home – a move back to the US is a much better tax situation than the UK…drink it up MC Dempsey and keep it in your wallet!