Clint Dempsey retires from Seattle Sounders, United States national team
Clint Dempsey is retiring from the Seattle Sounders and the U.S. men's national team effective immediately, his MLS club announced on Wednesday.
Dempsey, 35, played professionally for 15 years, including seven years in the Premier League for Tottenham and Fulham in between MLS stints with the New England Revolution and the Sounders.
For the U.S. national team, Dempsey scored 57 goals, tied with Landon Donovan for the most all time. His 141 appearances are the third most in team history, behind Cobi Jones (164) and Donovan (157). His 43 World Cup qualifying appearances are the most in U.S. team history, and he is tied for the most qualifying goals with Jozy Altidore at 18.
"After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game," Dempsey said in a statement. "I'd like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I've worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I'm grateful to have been on this ride.
"I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. Men's National Team. Y'all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember."
Dempsey missed the second half of the Sounders' title-winning 2016 season with a heart condition that put his career in jeopardy, but he returned to Seattle the next year after doctors cleared him. He was named the MLS Comeback Player of the Year last season when he again became his team's leading scorer and reclaimed a place on the U.S. national team.
The Texas native has played in 14 games for the Sounders this year, but his potential for playing time the rest of the year was likely to be limited after Seattle signed Peru international Raul Ruidiaz in June.
Dempsey started his MLS career in 2004 with New England and scored 25 goals in 71 games before moving to England. His 57 career Premier League goals are the most by an American -- 21 more than his former Fulham teammate Brian McBride, the next player on the list.
After one season with Tottenham, he returned to MLS with Seattle in a surprise move in 2013 and went on to score 57 goals in 136 games.
"Clint Dempsey has been one of the most impactful players in the history of the sport in our country," MLS commissioner Don Garber said. "From his early success with the New England Revolution to his achievements both as a top player in the English Premier League and for the U.S. men's national team, Clint showed us that there are no limits for an American player.
"His decision to sign with the Sounders in 2013 in the prime of his career sent a message to the global soccer community that MLS was a league on the rise. On behalf of our fans, our players, our clubs and the entire MLS family, I want to congratulate Clint on his retirement and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.