March 2010

Clint Dempsey: Soccer Player, Realist

As you probably already know, Clint Dempsey recently spoke on the Yanks World Cup group consisting of England, Algeria, and Slovenia. He came to the not-so-groundbreaking conclusion that a third or fourth place finish in group play and no trip to the knockout rounds would be a failure for the team. In the realm of quotes to the press, this represented a Captain Obvious-esque performance.

But even so, in a U.S. National Soccer team world rife with Coach Bob Bradley’s perfected monotone coach-speak, it’s nice to hear key locker room figures like Dempsey tell it like it is, even if he’s not going to Landon Donovan lengths and chirping about stepping on Mexico’s throat while reaming David Beckham for alligator arming the check at dinner.

Dempsey’s not a loud mouthed braggart, but he’s no shrinking violet either. He’s got a track record of “tellin’ it like it is,” which is apparently what people from Texas do when they’re not eating chili out of ten gallon hats. He’s always the first Fulham player to call out a bad performance when asked about as politely as possible by the English press (why they handle the American with kid gloves while going at managers as hard as possible I have no idea).

So is it a real news story that Dempsey vocalized what every U.S. soccer fan already knew? No. But it is something that I could see Alexi Lalas saying at halftime of a USMNT game while looking like he’s ready to crush someone’s skull.

If Bobbo represents the team’s reticence and stoic lack of emotion, and Donovan is the flip side of the coin, shooting his mouth off at every opportunity, Dempsey’s brand of reasoned yet off-the-cuff commentary finds a middle ground that represents U.S. Soccer better than either of the extremes.

Jon Levy is a senior writer and managing editor for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at or @TYAC_Jon.

Jon Levy