There’s a new event that has sports fans in the United States buzzing with excitement. It performs especially well in the coveted males 18-49 demographic, and its numbers see a high spike among those who identify themselves as casual or passionate fans of soccer.
Gather ’round the tele, kids. It’s time for some Dempsey-Gazing.
As you probably already know, Clint Dempsey is having a fantastic season in the Barclay’s Premier League with Fulham. As his goal tally continues to rise faster than the price of unleaded gasoline, fans and members of the media speculate more and more and Dempsey’s future.
You may have heard he has one more year left on his deal with the Cottagers, but he’s said hoping to play Champions League football. Fulham’s options appear to be sell him this summer and reap a financial gain or keep Dempsey another year and then lose him on a free transfer.
Dempsey has also said he’d prefer not to relocate his family. This has led many to conclude that Dempsey is bound for Arsenal, Tottenham or perhaps even Chelsea this summer – a prospect that seems to have the American soccer community in a tizzy.
The fact is if Dempsey moves to one of the massive clubs playing Champions League football in London, it will represent what so many have hoped for and waited so long to get. You’ll have the best of both worlds with an American playing abroad and playing in important matches you wanted to watch any way. Not only would casual fans watch whatever big club Dempsey might end up signing for because it’s a big club, they’d watch to see an American on that big club.
And that’s not all people will do if Dempsey goes from the big time to the super big time.
They’ll buy jerseys. Media attention will rise creating more opportunities for fans to watch the sport and more paying jobs for journalists to write about it. You’ll see his highlights each weekend on SportsCenter right alongside the NCAA football wraps and the NFL previews. Dempsey will become a household name, the face of soccer for the non-soccer fan. And what a story it will be. After growing up playing soccer with the Mexican kids in his East Texas town, he becomes one of the game’s biggest stars on the international stage.
That all might well happen. Is he the American in the best form at the moment? Certainly. And, yes, we’ve seen him handle the pressure before and perform at an incredibly high level in a league that is one of the top in the world.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve seen before the pitfalls of pinning our hopes and dreams for the future of American soccer on one man, or even one team. It’s unfair to expect Dempsey to up and move to a huge club and immediately have the same level of success he’s having now. Plenty of players can’t even handle the transition from one big club to another, much less that from a smaller EPL team to a massive one.
The other snag we’re be hitting is the failure to enjoy Dempsey’s masterful season for what it is. It’s been an incredible year for the Texan, and that shouldn’t go unrecognized – even as we all conspire to ship him off to greener pastures.
I’m must confess I’m not immune to the powers of Clinton Drew Dempsey, but it’s important to keep our emotions in check. Dempsey is a tremendous talent, and his future seems incredibly bright (although I would agree that the time is now for him to play in the Champions League, as at age 29 he doesn’t exactly have unlimited seasons left in him). He also happens to be American, like myself and most of you reading this piece. With that said, perhaps it’s time to focus on the game itself and enjoy what we have in the present rather than rampantly speculating what the future will bring every time Dempsey makes a nice play.