Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey has had his share of Texas homecomings since returning to MLS last season, but Sunday will mark his first visit to another home of sorts, New England.
Dempsey was selected eighth overall by the Revolution in the 2004 draft, and played three seasons there before being transferred to Fulham of the English Premier League.
A lot of success was crammed into that short time with New England, including winning MLS Rookie of the Year in 2004, being named to the MLS Best XI in 2005 and 2006, winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2005, winning the Honda Player of the Year in 2006 (a USMNT award), and making back-to-back MLS Cups in 2005 and 2006.
Dempsey was asked about the upcoming trip after Wednesday’s game: “It’s always great to go back to where you started. I owe a lot to that organization. They picked me up in the draft and gave me the opportunity to jump-start my career, and playing there allowed me to break into the national team and allowed me to go overseas. I have good memories there. We got to a semifinal and two finals. It’ll be great to go back, but we’ll still be looking to get points.”
Part of those fond memories was the collection of quality soccer individuals, according to Dempsey, with Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner on the coaching staff, to teammates like Andy Dorman, Steve Ralson, Shalrie Joseph, Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan, Matt Reis and others.
“We had a really good foundation there and a good team,” Dempsey said. “I thought we played a good style, and that was the reason we managed to go so far in the years I was there. And after I left, they were able to get to more finals.”