By: Greg Peterson, Staff Writer
Highlighting those who excel in the Furman sporting community
Clint Dempsey is the greatest men’s American soccer player. Ever. Look through his highlights on the U.S. Men’s National Team, Tottenham and the Seattle Sounders, and you see a strong veteran leader who is fearless and triumphant on the pitch. Look back a little further, and you will see a much younger version of him with a mop top and an oversized Furman jersey.
Dempsey was a three-year starter for Furman. During his time with the Paladins, he recorded multiple awards and accolades. The forward was a three-time All-Southern Conference selection and 2001 SoCon Freshman of the Year. In 2002, Dempsey earned National Collegiate Student Section Association All-American honors.
While receiving All-American honors, Dempsey led the Paladins to a NCAA Sweet-Sixteen appearance in 2002. He totaled 17 goals and 19 assists during his three seasons. After a successful college career, Dempsey decided to forego his senior season and enter the MLS draft. He was drafted eighth overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft to the New England Revolution.
Dempsey continued to garner honors and dominate on the pitch as a professional. The former Furman student was named Rookie of the Year in 2005 and joined the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was the first Paladin to ever compete in the World Cup tournament.
Dempsey seemed to shine on the World Cup stage, and he is the only American to ever score in three World Cups. He notched goals in the 2006, 2010 and 2014. Upon retirement, he is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals by a U.S. Men’s National Team player with 57 goals. He recorded 72 goals in the English Premier League during his tenure at Fulham and Tottenham.
Even though the 6-foot-1-inch forward from Nacogdoches, Texas still technically has one year of college eligibility left, do not expect to see him anytime soon at Seagraves Field. Dempsey officially retired from soccer Wednesday, August 28, 2018 and was met with endearing comments from fans and celebrities alike.
If you are ever passing around Stone Stadium, feel free to take a look at Dempsey’s retired #2 jersey. While you are there, feel free to cheer on our current Paladins! The women’s team takes on the College of Charleston Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. and the men’s team face Gardner Webb at home Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.