New England Soccer Today

Dempsey: Foxboro ‘Is Where This All Started For Me’

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For three years U.S. National Team star Clint Dempsey called Gillette Stadium home. Now one of the best American soccer players of all time, Dempsey got his start at the New England Revolution back in 2004, eventually launching a career that would see seven successful seasons in England’s Premier League as well as continued success internationally with the U.S.

“This is where this all started for me,” Dempsey said after Friday’s 1-0 Gold Cup win over Haiti at Gillette Stadium.

Dempsey entered the MLS SuperDraft in 2004. The draft at the time seemed most notable for number one overall pick, teen phenom Freddy Adu going to D.C. United. Other notable first round picks included stalwart defenders Chad Marshall and Clarence Goodson going at picks number two and number seven to the Columbus Crew and Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas), respectively.

But it was Dempsey, at number eight, who would go on to have the most impressive career. Then Revolution head coach Steve Nicol and assistant coach Paul Mariner—now the Revolution’s color commentator—got a steal with some help from fellow assistant coach John Murphy, who would depart for the Crew soon after.

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

“I was lucky enough to come to the Revs,” said Dempsey. “Paul Mariner and Steve Nicol gave me the opportunity. I learned a lot from them. They really helped in my development.”

The Nacogdoches, Texas native certainly proved he deserved all the trust Nicol and Mariner put in him scoring 25 goals and contributing 14 assists in 71 MLS games for New England. He appeared in two MLS Cup finals with the Revs, was a two time MLS Best XI selection and the 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year. In just three years he established himself as one of the greatest players ever to don a Revolution uniform.

Before long clubs from overseas took notice and in January 2007 he was sold to Fulham FC of England’s Premier League for a reported $4 million. Dempsey would go on to become Fulham’s all-time leading scorer in the Premier League with 50 career goals for the club, including 17 in 2011-12, which was good enough for fourth in the league that season. He was also named player of the club that year.

Dempsey would then move to Tottenham Hotspur before the 2012-13 season for a reported $9.6 million fee. At Spurs, he’d score 12 combined goals through the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League, along with six assists.

His time at Spurs was short-lived, however, as in the summer of 2013, the Seattle Sounders would make headlines by acquiring Dempsey for a report $9 million and making him one of the highest paid players in MLS. Since then, he’s been a huge success with 23 goals and 16 assists in 47 games for one of the most successful franchises in the league.

Meanwhile, Dempsey established himself as one of the greatest U.S. Internationals of all-time. Dempsey is second all-time—behind only Landon Donovan—on the U.S. goalscoring charts with 44 in 115 games. Perhaps most impressively, he’s scored in the last three World Cups. He also won the Bronze Ball as the third best player and was the leading scorer for the U.S. as they finished second in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

So, it came as a surprise to no one when Dempsey was named to the U.S. squad for 2015 Gold Cup. Nor did it surprise anyone when Dempsey scored both goals in the U.S.’ opening 2-1 win over Honduras.

Then on Friday, Dempsey scored the lone U.S. goal in its 1-0 victory over Haiti. That strike was just a little bit more special because it came in front of the Foxboro faithful who cheered for Dempsey when his professional career began.

“It definitely brings memories when we were driving to the stadium because that was the way that I would drive when I would come to training and come to games,” said Dempsey. “I had a good three years here.”

But, on Friday, the crowd was a bit bigger than usual as 46,720 showed up to set a Gillette Stadium record for a Gold Cup match.

“Definitely it was up there [with the best crowds I’ve seen here],” said Dempsey. “46,000, so that’s awesome. That’s great.”

Dempsey will look to continue his torrid Gold Cup scoring form as the U.S. takes on Panama on Monday night in the final Group A match at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

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