As the Clint Dempsey news boulder continues to roll downhill, we have now heard from the U.S. international himself. We’ve heard from the Sounders suits about how the blockbuster got stitched together. The chattering class has weighed in, and then some.
We’ve even heard from MLS, kind of anyway, as they walk us back along the trail to point out hidden little rules that were always there, apparently.
The one figure still to be heard from in all this: U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured).
We won’t for a while, either. A U.S. Soccer spokesman told me Tuesday that Klinsmann is vacationing abroad with his family. He will meet up with the team this weekend in Serbia ahead of next week’s match in Sarajevo. So, we’ll probably hear whatever Klinsmann has to say by Sunday or Monday. (The roster will be announced one of those days, too, according to U.S. Soccer.)
What the boss says about this is meaningful, because Dempsey is the U.S. captain and previously the walking, talking, emotional embodiment of what Klinsmann desired as the very bedrock of his program: the constant, dogged pursuit of individual betterment.
Dempsey long ago left the MLS nest for Fulham, with no guarantees. Points proven there, he left the Fulham nest for Tottenham, where the competition for spots reached another level. That’s what Klinsmann wanted from all his U.S. men, that same hard-driving ambition.
So, what will Klinsmann say now?
Here’s what ESPN’s Taylor Twellman had to say on the subject during Sunday’s Soccer Today radio show/podcast (disclosure: it’s a show I co-host):
Publicly he cannot say anything. He cannot come out and say ‘This is a step back for Clint Dempsey’s his career.’ But we know what Jurgen he has said before about going to Europe and pushing yourself, about challenging yourself, being in those spots where you are not guaranteed a [starting] spot.”
By the way, remember that Twellman played alongside Dempsey in New England. Twellman noted that Dempsey “hated” playing on artificial turf. Well, he’s on the stuff in Seattle, perhaps a better version that Gillette Stadium had a few years back. Still, it’s a great point, and something to monitor going forward.