Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dempsey's English Dream Comes True

The Clint Dempsey Transfer Saga reached its finale on Wednesday, as the United Kingdom work permit required for him to play for Fulham FC was finally secured from the British Home Office. With the move now official, the attacking midfielder/forward will soon join fellow American players Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride at Craven Cottage. Reports have indicated that Dempsey could be introduced by the English club to the media as early as Thursday, and possibly train with his new club that same day. The reported $4 million transfer fee paid by Fulham for Dempsey's services is believed to be the highest paid for an MLS player in league history.

Dempsey, whose international profile soared after scoring the only U.S. goal (versus Ghana on June 22) during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, had been seeking a transfer overseas prior to the start of the 2006 MLS season. Dempsey's return from the World Cup as an American soccer star only made the Nacogdoches, TX native even hungrier for a possible summertime transfer to an English club. While an immediate move overseas never materialized, Dempsey’s offensive prowess helped spark a depleted New England attack down the stretch, and rallied the home side to another Eastern Conference Championship

In his final game for the Revolution, a nicked-up Dempsey came on as a sub during 62nd minute of the 2006 MLS Cup vs. Houston. Despite an injured ankle, which he suffered during the Game 1 semi-final vs. Chicago, he played valiantly, as he tried to spark the Revs offensive attack. Ultimately, he and his compatriots lost in heartbreaking fashion, 4-3, on penalty kicks, as the sun set on Dempsey's brilliant three year reign in New England.

A fan favorite for his flashy escape from defenders and flamboyant style, which included numerous (and often humorous) goal celebrations, Dempsey also found his fair share of controversy during the span of his MLS career. In 2006, he was suspended for two weeks following a preseason altercation with teammate Joe Franchino and later suspended twice by MLS for on-field incidents vs. Chicago and Kansas City. Despite these episodes, there is no question that the talented “Deuce” will be missed by fans and teammates alike.

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