I suspect we will shortly learn the reasons for Clint Dempsey’s return to Major League Soccer (family, finances, regular playing time ahead of World Cup 2014, etc.), but I think it may be some time- years even- before we learn the importance of his return to the league. It may well be that we look back and see his return as the turning point for MLS- when the star players began to come to the league in their prime and the quality of the league reached new heights. Or, it could be a “one off” which lasts only through the end of Dempsey’s reported 4 year, $32m deal and is followed by MLS returning to its slow, but steady, climb up the ladder of domestic leagues.
Whatever the case, and whatever the machinations and convolutions that landed him in the Emerald City, the spotlight is going to shine brightly on Dempsey and (allegedly) the Seattle Sounders for the next few seasons. Maybe Dempsey’s presence in Seattle will bring a grass pitch to CenturyLink Field? Maybe his presence will sustain the club’s popularity long enough for dyed-in-the-wool football supporters to gradually replace the fixed-gear riding faddists who currently people the stands during home matches. Maybe his presence will bring the club a league title or even a CONCACAF Champions League title?
Or maybe not.
Maybe playing with teammates who are not on his level (he will be, by far, the best player in the league, never mind Seattle) will result in much of his considerable skill set going unused. Maybe his intensity, going unmatched by his teammates, will become frustration as he attempts to will the side forward on his own. Or maybe another foreign club will see the error of Tottenham’s ways (12 goals in all competitions while paying out of position isn’t good enough, AVB?) and come calling with another chance for Dempsey to play “big time,” Champions League football?
Welcome home, Deuce.
(shoulda been the Revs…)