TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey says the symptoms that eventually led him to being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat first surfaced last February but it wasn’t until late summer that it became serious enough to affect his ability to play.
Dempsey spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time since he was diagnosed with the irregular heartbeat in August and his season was shut down.
Dempsey first noticed symptoms last February during training camp and he spent the early part of the season trying to figure out what was happening. Dempsey said he felt good playing for the United States during the Copa America last summer, but after returning from the competition started “feeling more stuff.”
Dempsey says he’s feeling good again and looking forward to being back with the Sounders.
Dempsey returns to training after second heart procedure
The Sounders won the 2016 MLS Cup despite the absence of Dempsey, and his return would further strengthen the side. General manager Garth Lagerwey said Dempsey won’t be rushed, but could be nearing a return.
Still "signposts" to pass through before Dempsey can return to game action, but Lagerwey said he could potentially play in preseason matches
Time flies by when you’re having fun, and since the Major League Soccer’s inclusion of the Designated Player (aka the Beckham Rule) 10 years ago the league has seen its share of exciting moments because of the addition.
Since the arrival of David Beckham back in 2007, the former England international paved the way for MLS sides signing lucrative players both domestically and abroad.
While U.S. Men’s National Team stars like Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have graced the pitch in MLS, the implementation of the DP rule has seen some of the world’s biggest names also come stateside.
Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa have put up astounding goal totals since joining MLS two seasons ago from Europe, while the longevity of Robbie Keane and Bradley Wright-Phillips’ careers in America have dazzled supporters as well.
With that said, the PST staff takes the look at their top ranked Designated Players over the past 10 seasons.
1. Robbie Keane
2. Landon Donovan
3. Clint Dempsey
4. Sebastian Giovinco
5. Bradley Wright-Phillips
6. Thierry Henry
7. Guillermo Barros Schelotto
8. David Villa
9. David Beckham
10. Juan Pablo Angel
1. Landon Donovan 2. Robbie Keane 3. Guillermo Barros Schelotto 4. Sebastian Giovinco 5. David Beckham 6. David Villa 7. Thierry Henry 8. Clint Dempsey 9. Obafemi Martins 10. Diego Valeri
“I spoke to Clint yesterday, he is making good progress,” Arena said. “Obviously his health is a priority. And we are hoping we can bring him into camp in January, just casually get back into the swing of things. Perhaps not even considering him playing, and then have him ready to go as Seattle starts their preseason (in February).”
The 33-year-old was part of the locker room celebrations on Saturday in Toronto following the Sounders’ triumph over TFC in penalty kicks.
Dempsey has scored 52 goals in 130 caps, with three of those goals coming in a star turn for the U.S. at the Copa America Centenario.
U.S. Soccer will announce its 2016 individual awards on Friday, and while some winners seem set in stone, the Men’s Player of the Year is anything but an open and shut case.
Christian Pulisic is probably going to edge Jordan Morris for Young Male Player, Carli Lloyd is going to seize Female Player of the Year, and Andi Sullivan will probably take the Young Female honors (though admittedly we’re educated guessing on the last one).
It’s a bit surprising to see Dempsey’s name given he has missed a lot of time with a heart ailment, but the Sounders man had an electric start to 2016. Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, and Christian Pulisic have shouts to be on the list, especially with the former earning 33 percent of the vote last year, but such is life.
A case can be made for each. Let’s make ’em.
Jozy Altidore Club: Toronto FC — 28 games played, 15 goals, 7 assists
Country: 10 caps, six goals, two assists
Why he could win: Either Altidore or fellow nominee Cameron is the most accomplished active USMNT player not to have won the award. Toronto is on its way to its first final, and Altidore’s played a huge part. Ultimately, his missing the Copa America Centernario through injury probably hurts his cause too much.
Michael Bradley Club: Toronto FC — 29 games played, 2 goals, 4 assists
Country: 17 caps, three assists
The captain during the 2016 Copa America Centenario success, Bradley was used up and down the pitch by Jurgen Klinsmann. He’s been quite decent for Greg Vanney at Toronto FC, leading the club to the MLS Cup Final. Will his recent USMNT performances hurt him with voters? Probably.
Geoff Cameron Club: Stoke City — 26 games played, 1 assist
Country: 12 caps, one goal
Was a pivotal player in Stoke’s run up the Premier League table last season, and his absence in the USMNT’s recent losses to Mexico and Costa Rica underscores his value. Will the voters reward a player who doesn’t put up gaudy numbers? A defender hasn’t claimed this award since Oguchi Onyewu in 2006.
He didn’t play a ton, but when he did, oh boy. Dempsey was electric in the Copa America Centenario, a “roll back the years” job that hearkened to his time at Fulham. Quietly had a good offensive season for Seattle before his heart procedures. Will the absence be too much for him to overcome with voters?
Bobby Wood Clubs: Union Berlin – 12 games, 10 goals, 1 assist; Hamburg – 12 games, 4 goals
Country: 15 caps, 4 goals, 3 assists
Doesn’t have the country numbers of Altidore or Dempsey, but has continued to improve and fared well even when used out on the wing. Dominated the 2.Bundesliga and raised his level once joining the Bundesliga before earning a card suspension.