SEATTLE — In a moment reminiscent of another major sporting “decision” in recent history, Seattle Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth asked United States national team captain Clint Dempsey, in front of over 30,000 fans: “Have you made up your mind?”
Dempsey unzipped his hooded sweatshirt at midfield to reveal a Seattle Sounders FC jersey with his name and No. 2 on the back. The crowd roared in the classic CenturyLink Field manner, chants of “Deuce” flowing over the stadium bowl.
“I look forward to getting on the field and playing in front of some of the best fans in the world,” Dempsey said through a microphone. “I think we’ll accomplish some great things here.”
In the south end of the stadium after the national anthem and before kickoff, fans unveiled tifo with the inscription: “Keep Calm and #DempseyWatch,” referencing the Twitter hashtag that followed Dempsey’s journey, culminating in his return to Major League Soccer.
Two days after he was spotted at the San Francisco airport on his way to Seattle, the U.S. captain made his first official appearance in the Emerald City. The whirlwind concluded with the in-stadium presentation five minutes before the Sounders’ scheduled kickoff against FC Dallas on Saturday.
Dempsey went into the Sounders locker room to introduce himself to his new teammates before the game. It was a low-key introduction, one player said, although some were understandably star-struck.
The newest Sounder will be available to the media on Monday.