Sounders FC star Clint Dempsey has partnered with Oberto, so you might see some television commercials involving the U.S. national team captain starting Sunday (you can catch an early look below). As part of the endorsement deal, he did another shoot Thursday morning, and I was able to sneak in a few questions during breaks, as trains, plans and helicopters caused some delays.
Others involved in the “You Get What You Put In” campaign are Richard Sherman, Stephen A. Smith, Louie Vito and Brian Urlacher.
Here is a transcript of the Dempsey chat, including topics like being in form for the World Cup, how this tournament feels different compared to past World Cups, captaincy with the U.S. and Seattle, and more:
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(A hard-hitting question first, have you seen the Demps-zilla video?) “Yeah! (laughs) … My parents actually sent it to me, so that’s why I was able to check it out. It was good.”
(So nine months ago, you made this huge move to the Sounders, a move many USMNT fans might have been unsure about. Now, it’s hard to argue with the results, as you’re healthy, in form and seemingly in a perfect position leading into the World Cup. Is there a certain satisfaction that comes with seeing this play out as planned?) “What you want to do is come back and play well, get in a good run of form and get confidence to help you going into a World Cup. That was accomplished. I’m just glad to be in good form and to be enjoying my ball. I’m excited about the summer.”
(The end of last season was about as crazy as it’s been with this franchise, coming off a disappointing playoff exit and questions about the coach’s future. How did you look upon that time and did you ever wonder if you had made the right choice with so much on the line in 2014?) “I think you always ask questions when you’re a franchise trying to push for greatness. You always have to be pushing. You can’t be complacent. That’s kind of how we are as a team, as well, in terms of where we’re at this season. We’re continuing to push forward even though we’re at the top of the table. We keep holding ourselves to a high standard to get maximum points out of every game.”
(You were 23 and 27 years old in the previous World Cups. How does it feel going into this one at 31?) “To be honest with you, it doesn’t feel much different because you have the same mindset going into it. You can’t say it might be your last World Cup, but you never know when you’re going to get the opportunity again. You have that feeling of trying to make the most of this, because you don’t know when it will happen again and you want to do something special in your lifetime. Those are things that kind of go through your mind. Obviously the more experience you have, the pressure is on you to help the team do well and push forward. Maybe that’s something that’s different, but in terms of my mentality, it hasn’t changed. Just take advantage of the moment, because you don’t know when it will be your last.”
(When you were coming up through the national team, was being captain ever a thought that crossed your mind?) “It didn’t. It’s not something that I thought about. I thought about just performing well, trying to win every game possible, try to help the team as much as possible in terms of scoring goals or creating chances. Those are the things I thought about throughout my career. It wasn’t about being captain, but it is an honor to be the captain of your country and to be one of the guys to help lead. But I’m lucky. On the team, I think we have a lot of great leaders, a lot of people with experience — look at guys like Tim Howard and Michael Bradley. It’s a good mix of leadership, and I think there’s a lot of quality on our team. I’m just excited about the opportunity to go play in a World Cup in Brazil.”
(What would you say to those who think if you’re captain of the national team, you should also be captain of your club team?) “It’s not something that I think about. Brad (Evans) is the captain. He’s been here for a number of years now. That’s what it is, and that’s what it’s been since Day 1. I think he does a good job in that role, and if there’s ever a team he’s not in the team because of injury or something like that, I have no problem being a co-captain. Again, there are a lot of great leaders on this team, as well. Since Day 1, it’s been established that Brad’s the captain.”
(There was some discussion around you giving the ball to Osvaldo Alonso for the PK lat week. The team has said afterward it was a sign of a strong team that the players can stand behind a decision like that and also come back to win after the miss. How do you look back on that?) “No matter who takes it, there is always a possibility that he’ll convert or not. We’re a very close team and we know what’s going on in each other’s lives. For Ozzie, it was an opportunity to do something for his family, and I thought that moment should have been his. He asked for that moment, and I had no problem sacrificing for the team and giving him the chance to do what he wanted to. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to work out, but we have a lot of character on this team. We’ve all seen it throughout the year when we go down in games and having the ability to fight back and get the right result. I think it shows we are a close team.”
(Can you talk about the work you’re doing with Oberto?) “When the World Cup comes around, there are opportunities to link up with brands. I’m excited to link up with Oberto. What you put in is what you get out. It’s a product that has no preservatives. It’s all natural. I enjoy eating beef jerky, it’s something I grew up doing in Texas, and I’m happy to be associated with the brand.”