Clint Dempsey announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending a record-breaking career both in the U.S. and in the Premier League.
Over his 15-year career, Dempsey has scored a lot of goals. Around 211 to be exact in officials matches for the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, the Seattle Sounders and of course, the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Let’s take a look back at our favorite ten goals from Dempsey’s career, in descending order from 10.
10. New England Revolution at Metrostars, 2004
Let’s start where it all began. Clint Dempsey’s first season as a professional saw him and the mighty Revolution head down I-95 to Giants Stadium to face the Metrostars. Off a corner kick on April 25, 2004, Dempsey got on the end of a loose ball in the box and lashed a strike home, beginning his trademark celebration run towards the corner flag. It was the first of many amazing moments in Dempsey’s career.
9. U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Italy, 2012
It had been more than 70 years since the two nations faced off, and the USMNT had still never beaten Italy. That, and testing themselves against one of the best national teams in Europe was the backdrop for a late-February friendly match in Genoa, that saw arguably the best tactical setup from Jurgen Klinsmann during his time as head coach. Perhaps Italy wasn’t taking the game as seriously as they would a tournament, but Klinsmann had Dempsey man-mark Andrea Pirlo (!!) out of the game, and on one of his few chances, Dempsey fired home from just inside the box to give the U.S. the lead, one that it held on to for a historic win.
8. USMNT vs. Germany, 2013
A year before they won the World Cup in Brazil, Germany sent its side to the U.S. as part of U.S. Soccer centennial celebration, with a match between the nations to take place in Washington D.C.
Despite Germany being the favorites, once again, Dempsey (as well as Jozy Altidore and others) played some of the best soccer of their career. Dempsey finished with a goal as the U.S. left D.C. with a wild 4-3 win.
7. Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids, 2017
Clint Dempsey scored a lot of goals for the Sounders – 57 to be exact – and as a striker with a finishing touch, many are similar. Low shots aimed at the far post. Nothing spectacular, but it’s how the best keep scoring game after game. While he had many big-game goals, especially against the Portland Timbers, this goal against former USMNT teammate Tim Howard stands out as one of his best, smashing a half-volley into the side netting. The video starts at that goal, but feel free to start at the beginning and watch it all the way through.
6. Fulham vs. Liverpool, 2007
In Dempsey’s first season, he cemented his legacy as a fan favorite.
With the club mired in the relegation zone and seemingly headed for the Championship, a home draw against Blackburn and a crucial 1-0 win over Liverpool in the last home match of the season helped keep Fulham above the drop zone, letting them survive in the Premier League for another season. It was Dempsey’s goal that proved to be the difference against Liverpool.
5. USMNT vs. Costa Rica, 2013
Things weren’t looking good for the U.S. in its first World Cup qualification campaign under Klinsmann. The German legend had underestimated what it took to win in hot and humid Honduras, which saw the U.S. lose its first qualifying match, 2-1. Then, shortly before back-to-back matches against Costa Rica and Mexico, two of the other toughest nations in qualifying, a bombshell report came out from Brian Strauss revealing major divisions and cracks within the USMNT locker room. Tension was thick and the team’s fortunes were on a knife edge – they easily could have drawn or lost to Costa Rica and Mexico and been in deep trouble to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Instead, as luck would have it, on gameday in Denver against Costa Rica, it snowed. And snowed. Costa Rica asked for the game to be postponed, but the match went ahead. Amidst snow flurries and growing snow piles on the field, Dempsey scored a historic goal in what’s now called the Snowclasico that helped turn around the USMNT’s qualification dreams and sent them off into that summer with a ton of momentum, some of which was also buoyed by a scoreless draw at Estadio Azteca.
4. Fulham vs. Newcastle, 2012
On a cold January night, with his team down a goal, Dempsey helped inspire Fulham to a memorable 5-2 win over Newcastle at Craven Cottage. Dempsey scored a hat-trick, becoming the first (and so far only) American to achieve that feat in the Premier League.
3. Tottenham vs. Manchester United, 2012-2013
Clint Dempsey finished with 12 goals in a Tottenham uniform, and while some were spectacular, few were as memorable as his pair against Manchester United.
Dempsey led Tottenham to a rare and memorable, 3-2 win at Old Trafford in 2012, scoring the game-winner, and then back at White Hart Lane in the snow, Dempsey scored a crucial 93rd minute equalizer to earn a point in a 1-1 draw. Dempsey’s celebrations running towards the corner flag are unforgettable.
2. USMNT vs. Ghana, 2014
In Clint Dempsey’s first two World Cups, the USA was sent out of the tournament by Ghana. As luck would have it, the two nations were paired together in the Group of Death at Brazil’s World Cup in 2014, facing off in the opening match for each team. With emotion and anxiety high across the country, Dempsey sent the entire nation into delirium, scoring a goal in the opening 30 seconds to put the Americans ahead. Of course, John Brooks scored the game-winner that sealed all three points, but Dempsey’s goal was one no one will forget.
1. Fulham vs. Juventus, 2010
A game that will live long in the memory of any Fulham and USMNT fan, Fulham came back from a three-goal aggregate deficit in the Europa League Round of 16 to make it to the quarterfinals. But it wasn’t against just any opponent, this was against the mighty Juventus.
Dempsey, never one to worry about a shot going wide, decided to put the finishing touches – and go-ahead-goal on the win with an outrageous chip that left goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti helpless in goal. Fulham went on to play for the Europa League title, eventually falling 2-1 after extra time to Atletico Madrid.