U.S. Men’s National Team striker Clint Dempsey is returning the MLS to play for the Seattle Sounders. How big of an impact will his presence have on the league and soccer in America?
Major League Soccer is no comparison competitively to the Premier League and it may never be. The level of play in the Premier League far outweighs the intensity and overall talent that one might ever hope to see in MLS. But with players like U.S. Men’s National Team striker Clint Dempsey returning to MLS after six years in the EPL, the talent level in MLS will continue to rise.
Dempsey was transferred to the MLS’ Seattle Sounders FC from the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur for $9 million. This is a big deal because typically America sends it’s best players to play in Europe where they can experience “football’ at its highest levels, but Dempsey is America’s best soccer player, so we get him back while he’s still in his prime.
Soccer’s popularity in America may be approaching unprecedented heights. Especially with the USMNT play so well now coming from winning the Gold Cup, and the World Cup in Brazil approaching. MLS has become a much more competitive league over the past five years, and while it’s sill not on the level of some of the leagues in Europe, it’s become the fastest growing sports league in the U.S.
Some fans still laugh at soccer here in the states, as MLS still trails the NFL, NBA, and MLB in popularity. But with the league looking to expand to 24 teams by 2020, MLS has proven that it’s here to stay as it’s building a grass-roots following in cities like Seattle, which is what attracted Dempsey to come back.
Like David Beckham and Thierry Henry before him, Dempsey’s mere presence won’t make MLS a cultural phenomenon in America, but it help the MLS brand grow. And Dempsey’s successful run in the EPL will add more credibility to MLS and will make the league even more competitive from a talent stand point.
If the men’s national team can put on a good display in next year’s world cup, then MLS will be helped even more by the fact that not only Dempsey, but other national team players like Landon Donovan play in their league. MLS has done well in its first 20 years of existence, and one can only imagine how good the league can become 20 years from now.
- Official: Tottenham Hotspur confirm sale of Clint Dempsey to Major League Soccer (prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com)
- What’s next for Clint Dempsey? (theoutspokenfan.wordpress.com)
- Sounders sign Clint Dempsey from Tottenham (sbnation.com)
- A one way ticket from Tottenham to Seattle (danielsamueljr.wordpress.com)