Clint Dempsey

Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey kicks the ball Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, during training in Tukwila, Wash. 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, Fe.b 14, 2017 for the first time since he was diagnosed with the irregular heartbeat in August and his season was shut down. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Sounders’ Clint Dempsey feeling good again after heart issue

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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.

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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

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 28:  Clint Dempsey #2 of MLS All-Stars chases after the ball up field against the Arsenal FC during the second half of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Avaya Stadium on July 28, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Many were concerned about USMNT and Seattle Sounders attacker Clint Dempsey‘s future when he underwent a pair of heart procedures in 2016.

The 33-year-old Dempsey took another step to allay those fears when he hit the pitch for Seattle’s first day of preseason camp.

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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.

PST ranks the top Designated Players over the past 10 MLS seasons

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07:  Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy plays the ball past Andrew Farrell #2 of the New England Revolution in the first half during the 2014 MLS Cup match at StubHub Center on December 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Galaxy defeated the Revolution 2-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
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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.

[ MORE: Bradley vows to bring Toronto the title “you deserve” ]

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.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

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.


Matt Reed

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


Joe Prince-Wright

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


Nick Mendola

1. Landon Donovan
2. Robbie Keane
3. Sebastian Giovinco
4. Thierry Henry
5. Guillermo Barros Schelotto
6. David Beckham
7. David Villa
8. Cuauhtemoc Blanco
9. Clint Dempsey
10. Ignacio Piatti

USMNT: Arena hopeful Dempsey ready for World Cup qualifiers

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 21:  Nicolas Otamendi #17 of Argentina and Clint Dempsey #8 of United States battle for the ball in the second half during a 2016 Copa America Centenario Semifinal match at NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
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USMNT coach Bruce Arena plans to call up Clint Dempsey, saying he’s “hopeful” the Seattle Sounders striker will be prepared to play in March’s World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Honduras.

Dempsey has been out of action since August, having undergone a pair of operations to correct heart problems.

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Goal.com’s Seth Vertelney has a quote from Arena:

“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.

Follow @NicholasMendola

The case for each U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year nominee

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30:  Michael Bradley #4 of Toronto FC celebrates with Jozy Altidore #17 at the final whistle following the MLS Eastern Conference Final, Leg 2 game against Montreal Impact at BMO Field on November 30, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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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).

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Three of the men’s nominees have won before: Jozy Altidore in 2013, Michael Bradley last year, and Clint Dempsey in 2007, 2011, and 2012. Bobby Wood and Geoff Cameron complete the ballot.

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.

Clint Dempsey
Club: Seattle Sounders — 19 games, 10 goals, 1 assist
Country: 10 caps, 4 goals, 4 assists

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.

Follow @NicholasMendola