Clint Dempsey is back in MLS and playing for the Seattle Sounders, but he won’t soon forget the sights and sounds from Brazil, where he scored an opening-minute goal against Ghana and led the U.S. men’s national team past the Group of Death.
Even amid all the excitement, Dempsey knew just how much the games meant to his countrymen back home.
“You could feel it (in Brazil),” he said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Outside of Brazil, the most tickets sold were by America. Seeing the support that we had in the stadiums that we were playing in, it was almost like a home away from home. And then seeing some of the videos and pictures of the bars being packed and restaurants so packed that people can’t get in and everybody with the jerseys on and filling up stadiums to watch the game on the Jumbotron and stuff like that – it’s awesome to see how far the game has come in the States and hopefully it continues to go in that direction. The fans don’t have to wait too long because in two years another big tournament will be on American soil.”
That would be the 2016 Copa America. Dempsey, 31, wants to remain on the national team until at least then, but part of him still wonders what might have happened in Brazil had Jozy Altidore not gotten hurt.
“He was a big part of our team,” Dempsey said. “He helped us in terms of the World Cup qualifying process, getting important goals. When he went down, we missed him.”
Dempsey, however, will play another international game Wednesday – well, sort of. He is part of the MLS All-Star team, which will play Bayern Munich in Portland at 9:30 p.m. ET.
It’ll be interesting to see how seriously each side takes the match. Bayern Munich is still in preseason form, and some of its players could use a breather after playing in the World Cup. The MLS All-Stars, meanwhile, are focused on making the playoffs with their club teams, some of which are in action this weekend.
“Everybody wants to make playoffs,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey, at Doug Gottlieb’s request, then played a little game of “Would you rather?”
Would you rather play for Real Madrid of have a platinum rap album? Dempsey said play for Real Madrid.
Would you rather give up fishing or give up soccer? Dempsey, an avid angler, said he would give up fishing, adding that the best place he’s ever fished is Nacogdoches Lake, where he once caught a 10-pound bass.
Would you rather have a pet snake or a pet shark?
“I guess it depends on (which kind of) snake and (which kind of) shark, but I guess a pet shark,” Dempsey said. “That’d be cool.”
Would you rather hang out with Justin Bieber or Alex Rodriguez? Rodriguez.
And, would you rather wear a banana hammock or get your whole body waxed?
“I guess probably get my whole body waxed,” Dempsey said, before thinking about it some more. “Does that (include) your eyebrows and hair?”
No, Gottlieb said, but it does include other areas “that could be a little bit more painful.”
“Oh,” Dempsey said. “No, I’d do banana hammock.”