In case you have been under a rock for the last few days, Clint Dempsey has signed a deal with the Seattle Sounders of MLS. The deal is for four years and in the ballpark of $32 million as reported by ESPN FC's Doug McIntyre.
Dempsey immediately becomes the best player MLS has to offer right now. He'll help Seattle going forward this season and in seasons to come. Some say the move isn't good for him, but it really is. It's great for MLS, Seattle, and USA Soccer. Here's why:
As I have already said, he will be the best playing in the league. He's known across the country as one of USA's top players and will help sell tickets wherever he goes making more money for MLS, their teams, and the Sounders. The guys is pure box office to US soccer fans. Speaking of money, what Seattle sports fan or USA soccer fan wouldn't want a green and blue Dempsey jersey? (Well, not me, DC United all the way. But you get the point.)
When the US played a game in Seattle a while back, Dempsey was one of the US players that talked about Seattle's turf, however that game was played on natural grass over the turf. Dempsey even said, "I'd rather play on real grass over turf than to play on turf" showing he isn't a fan of the turf. He doesn't like it, if you couldn't tell.
Many soccer players and fans don't like playing the game on turf and don't enjoy watching the game played on it. Some fans might be worried about Dempsey getting hurt playing on the turf, but they shouldn't be worried. Dempsey made this move knowing that the Sounders play on turf so I'd say it doesn't bother him too much and it shouldn't bother you either. So any gripes from US fans not wanting him to play on turf? The argument ends there. Deuce doesn't mind it (... I think?).
Some will say that Jurgen Klinsmann wants his players playing at the highest level and would rather see Dempsey playing in the EPL. Those who say that probably haven't talked to Klinsmann and neither have I, but here's the thing: would you rather have your player starting for an MLS team, scoring goals, building chemistry with a US teammate (Eddie Johnson), and tearing up the league playing against talent maybe a tad bit below his level?
Or... would you rather have him play in the EPL with Tottenham or some other team, not start, not build any chemistry with US teammates, and just be a 2nd half guy?
I'm going to say Jurgen prefers the first option. Plus, Donovan, Zusi, EJ, and others already play in MLS and he seems fine with that.
In the end, I think all Dempsey really cares about is his playing time at age 30 (which he will definitely get in Seattle) and the World Cup. By playing in MLS, when the 2014 Cup rolls around he'll be in season and his legs will be fresh and he'll be in shape. If he were to stay in the EPL, he'd be about a month or two removed from game play when the cup rolls around. Advantage, MLS.
Another thing it shows? It defeats the myth that MLS is a "retirement" league.
Soccer fans have said that after guys like David Beckham and others have come here to finish out their careers that MLS is where players come to retire. Last time I checked, Clint Dempsey is in the prime of his career and not retiring anytime soon. So perhaps the move will change the perception of the league and attract more players in their prime.
I love the move for Dempsey, for Seattle, for US Soccer, and for MLS. Welcome back Deuce.
But what do you think? Hit the poll, hit the comments.