It seems like just yesterday that a 23-year-old New England Revolution star named Clint Dempsey signed with Fulham for a then-record Major League Soccer transfer fee of $4 million. But it was six years ago to the day, a fact pointed out by astute observer and all-around good guy Arlo White.
At the time, Dempsey was just looking to find a place on the field. “It’s been an ambition of mine to come to England and play in the Premier League, so I’m excited that I’ve been given the opportunity to do that, and look forward to helping Fulham with their future campaigns,” he said after signing.
(Another great nugget from the days of yore, according to Frank Dell’Appa’s column at the time: “When he first came into Revolution camp, Dempsey insisted on addressing his elders as “sir” and he was on his best behavior.”)
We all know what happened. He played 10 times that first season, scoring one goal and figuring out the EPL under the watchful eye of Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra. Then, slowly, surely, inevitably, he exploded for 40 more league goals, including 17 during his astonishing 2011-2012 campaign. Before this season, he transfered to Tottenham and has four goals in 16 appearances so far.
Desmpey is succeeding beyond what anyone — except, perhaps, the always confident player — would have expected. The key, I think, can be found in his EPL player biography. Under position, he’s listed as “unknown.” That’s probably an oversight, but doesn’t it speak to his game? He fits in anywhere in the attacking third. Put the Texan on the field and good things happen. They always have; they always will.
Below, all 23 goals he scored during the 2011-2012 season. The variety is remarkable, as is Dempsey’s positional awareness. He is — so, so, so frequently — in exactly the right place at the right time. Oh, and he can blast a free kick when he needs as well. Give the man the