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Posted above is the full video of Clint Dempsey‘s introductory press conference with Sounders FC (just skip ahead to the 28:30 marks if it is still edited as an hour long, we got started a bit late). Dempsey did smile a couple times, which doesn’t happen very often.
Here are some quick notes and takeaways:
— Coach Sigi Schmid said he expects Dempsey will play in Saturday’s road game at Toronto FC.
— Ticket sales for the next home game, Aug. 25 vs. Portland, have already topped 60,000.
— GM Adrian Hanauer said Dempsey has been at the top of the “dream big” list for two years.
— What really struck me was Dempsey mention of wanting to start a family here in America, where they could have the same things he had growing up, like tee-ball and going fishing (like he did with Marcus Hahnemann in June).
— Dempsey said timing was everything in the move and he was getting the itch to come back, noting he was proud of everything he accomplished in Europe and doesn’t have any regrets.
— Hanauer said there are no plans right now to expand capacity beyond those already planned, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do eventually.
— Dempsey said playing in the UEFA Champions League was a goal of his, implying he’s moved on.
— Dempsey said he has never felt so welcome at a team and described his unveiling Saturday as like something from a movie.
— Dempsey noted that he’s had a lot of travel recently, London to Hong Kong to London to San Francisco to Seattle, ahead of another cross-country trip. He noted he had to go out a back door of the plane to avoid be spotted by fans, but said it was great to see that excitement over the move.
— Dempsey said that the No. 2 jersey is sentimental to him, a number he wore in college and New England. Expect some compensation to go to DeAndre Yedlin, who had the number and looks to be switching to No. 17.
— Hanauer clarified that as a DP, Dempsey doesn’t go through allocation (apparently you can only enter the league through one mechanism, as a DP or through allocation). He didn’t much want to talk about report of the league paying the transfer fee.
— Schmid noted that this move shows MLS is ready to take a step up and not just be a selling league anymore.
— Dempsey noted he has a long-term contract and he’s looking to be here for a long time.