- Clint Dempsey retires from football after 15-year career
- USA's joint all-time leading goalscorer (57)
- First American to score in three consecutive World Cups
USA's joint all-time leading goalscorer Clint Dempsey announced his retirement from football after a successful 15-year career.
In a statement published on US Soccer's official website, Dempsey said: "After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game. I’d like to thank all of the team-mates, coaches and support staff that I’ve worked with throughout my career.
"It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I’m grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. Men’s National Team. Y’all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember.”
Dempsey scored 57 goals (joint-most) and contributed 21 assists (fourth all-time) in 141 appearances (third all-time) for USA during his international career.
The Nacogdoches, Texas native had an extraordinary return to the international stage after being sidelined with an irregular heartbeat during the second half of 2016.
“For me the biggest thing is being able to come back from two heart procedures and to still be playing at this level,” Dempsey told USsoccer.com after equalling Landon Donovan’s goals record - achieving the feat in 19 less caps - in USA’s 2-0 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final win against Costa Rica.
“I didn’t know if I was going to have much time left to be playing the game, and to be able to tell my kids that right now I’m tied for the most goals ever scored for my country - for me, it was always trying to play in a World Cup and represent your country, but to be able to play in three World Cups and say that I’m one of the leading goal scorers all-time for the US, that’s something that’s very special.”
Dempsey scored his first international goal for the Stars and Stripes on 28 May 2005 with a header against England in a 2-1 friendly defeat in Chicago.
The next year at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ he was the only goalscorer for USA in what was an overall disappointing campaign.
Dempsey starred for Bob Bradley’s side at the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, scoring in their famous 2-0 semi-final win over Spain and in their 3-2 final defeat by Brazil. He was awarded the adidas Bronze Ball after a landmark tournament for the nation on the international stage.
At Brazil 2014 Dempsey scored after just 29 seconds against Ghana making it the fastest USA goal in World Cup history. That goal also made him the first American in history to score in three consecutive World Cups.