The newly signed Tottenham attacker is proud to be representing his country on Tuesday night on the anniversary of of 9/11.COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Like most Americans, Clint Dempsey remembers where he was on Sept. 11, 2001.
Fast-forward 11 years and the American midfielder knows that playing for the U.S. soccer team on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks carries a little different weight than a normal game. The U.S. will meet Jamaica Tuesday night at Columbus Crew Stadium.
"It’s something that is special because it showed that our country had a lot of character and was able to bounce back from that type of situation," Dempsey said on Monday. "I think people draw strength on that and us as players, and us as a country, we always remember that. It’s impacted everyone’s life and everybody remembers where they were on that day."
Dempsey was just beginning his freshman year at Furman University when the terrorist attacks shook the United States. The nation came together following the horrific events and Dempsey has been motivated to perform at the highest level for the U.S. national team ever since.
"(You try to) use it as a positive, as motivation to stay strong and to keep fighting," he said. "And Like I said earlier, we’re excited about the challenge of Tuesday and I think everybody is prepared to do everything they can to try and get this win."
A second match against a Jamaican team that shocked the U.S. when it defeated the CONCACAF giant 2-1 on Friday also carries plenty of weight on its own.
The U.S. is currently tied for second alongside Guatemala in the Group A standings but can regain control of the group with a win over Jamaica. A loss would make for a very nervy final two matches of the semifinal round of qualifying. Only the top two teams from each group advance.
With Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley both out of action due to injuries, Dempsey will once again be asked to shoulder a large portion of the burden for the USA's attack, but the newly signed Tottenham midfielder says his time on the pitch Friday night has him ready to go for Tuesday's contest.
Dempsey's fitness was put into question after he sat out of Fulham's preseason and opening games of the Premier League season as he searched for a new club team, but he still managed to score the U.S. team's only goal while playing a full 90 minutes against the Reggae Boyz.
"I feel better for the game actually," he said. "It helped me a lot, gives me more confidence. It’s always good to get back on the score sheet. Also, it gets you a better level of fitness and you’re able to assess the speed of what it’s like playing in a game. So I think I benefited a lot from that."
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