Clint Dempsey has retired from professional soccer, with the 35-year-old and the Seattle Sounders announcing the move on Wednesday.
Dempsey leaves the game as one of the legends of the sport in the United States, and the only American to score at three different World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014).
Having earned his first cap in November 2004 after impressing during his rookie season with the New England Revolution, Dempsey went on to make 141 appearances for his country, good for third-most all time, and leaves as the joint-top scorer in U.S. national team history alongside Landon Donovan with 57 goals.
He was also named U.S. Soccer's male athlete of the year three times.
“After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game,” Dempsey said.
“I’d like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I’ve worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I’m grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. men’s national team.
"Y’all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember.”
After winning Rookie of the Year in MLS and playing three seasons with the New England Revolution, helping the club to back-to-back MLS Cup finals, Dempsey made a name for himself in Europe while playing for Premier League sides Fulham and Tottenham.
In six seasons with the Cottagers Dempsey netted 60 goals and added 18 assists, winning the club's Player of the Year award twice and setting the club's records for goals in the Premier League for both single season and career. His 17 league goals were good enough for fourth in the Premier League during the 2011-12 season.
His run at Fulham also brought success for the team, with the club reaching the Europa League final thanks in part to Dempsey's brilliant goal to seal a comeback win over Juventus in the round of 16. Though relegated to a substitute's role for the final, his appearance in the 55th minute made him the first U.S. player to appear in a major European final.
In one season with Spurs Dempsey netted 12 times in 43 appearances across all competitions, scoring seven times in the Premier League including a memorable winner for Tottenham against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
A lucrative offer saw the forward return to MLS with the Seattle Sounders in the summer of 2013.
In five season with the Sounders Dempsey has helped the club win a Supporters' Shield, a U.S. Open Cup and a MLS Cup title in 2016, though his season was derailed by an irregular heartbeat and he missed the latter part of the season and the playoffs.
He returned for the entire 2017 season with the Sounders, helping the club to a Western Conference title and a second-straight appearance in the MLS Cup final, though the Sounders fell short of a repeat against Toronto FC.
The 2018 season has been the slowest of Dempsey's illustrious career and, while the Sounders are once again making a late-season push up the standings, the 35-year-old never really got his campaign going as the club struggled through the early part of the year, scoring just once in league play and twice in all competitions and battling nagging injuries.
He leaves Seattle as the club's joint-top scorer in league play with 47 goals, level with Fredy Montero, and is the club's all-time leader in playoff goals.