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.
(MORE: Clint Dempsey to Seattle: $9 million fee, $8 million salary sees Deuce back to MLS)
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.
In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.
But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.
[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]
In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.
For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”
The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.
And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.
Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.
If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.
Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.
Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.
“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”
So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.
As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.