Dempsey explains how his move came about

Question: You could have stayed in England or a European club instead of coming to MLS. Why did you decide to come to Seattle now?

Dempsey: To be honest with you, going back to preseason I thought I was going to be at Tottenham for another two years. Then Lyle [Yorks, Dempsey's agent] came to me saying, 'Would you be interested in going back to MLS?' I said, 'If it's the right situation and it made sense, it would be something I'd look at. But come back to me when you know the full details of everything.' They got the ball rolling as far as inquiring and to Tottenham, asking them what the situation was. There might have been a little sniff there, the chance that something could happen. So I started thinking, well, it has been getting more difficult every year to come back [to England] after being home with family and stuff.

It's kind of been that thing in my life, trying to go and do your career, being a little more selfish in that regard, but also trying to be around your family too. I'm sure you can relate with that also, because you've had to do a lot of traveling. I saw my grandparents getting older and older, and I just want to be around my family more. Even though I'm still up in Washington [State], my grandparents can still come see me. They didn't have passports; they just would never go do it. So they'll come up and check out games and I'll get to play in Dallas and Houston [near Dempsey's hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas], and you have Christmas and Thanksgiving. So family was a big thing.

But I also wanted to come back when I was in my prime, not when I was past it. If I came back, I wanted to make an impact. I'm coming here to win an MLS Cup. I'm not coming here just to chill. I want to keep working hard and still do something special. You can see the MLS players, they still get looks in with the national team. They still compete against the European [-based] players and fight for spots, and some of the players have won positions in the starting 11.

I feel like I can still push myself here, and I want to get back a little bit to kind of like the old me. Because I grew up watching South American soccer. That's really what I enjoyed, being on the ball a little more, a little more creativity. It felt like when I went to Europe it kind of hindered that a little bit. It was more one- and two-touch and never lose the ball, that kind of thing. It helped me be more of a complete player and see the field better and make quicker decisions, but I feel like I have a good mix now, and I want to get back more to that creative style.

I'm also excited to be in Seattle. There are a lot of fans, top 30 in the world. Just look at the home game we're going to have, with 67,000. That's crazy. It'll be really cool.


Question: Did you have a heart-to-heart at one point with Tottenham manager André Villas-Boas?

Dempsey: I didn't. I really just had a heart-to-heart with my family, talked to my wife, to my mom and dad, to my brothers and my sister. And had a few sleepless nights just going over that decision and wanting to make sure I was making it for the right reasons, and that I felt good about it. You have to get that gut feeling that you're doing the right thing. It was good for me to be back with Tottenham in preseason and be around it to make that decision instead of being removed from it on vacation in the summer. I was able to be there, be in training and really think about it.

After I left, [Villas-Boas] sent me a really good text. He was happy with what I was doing and I was going to be part of his plans. He wished me the best. I'm grateful for him. He gave me an opportunity to see what it was like to play at a big club. So I'll always be grateful for that, just to get that experience. It's one of those things where you're always, What if? What would that be like? I know what it was like. So that brings me peace. The only thing is, yeah, I would have liked to play Champions League, and maybe that will happen one day, maybe it won't. But for me the biggest thing was being in the World Cup, and that gave me the itch to leave MLS and play against that on a consistent basis. I was over there for six-and-a-half years, so I felt like I've been over here, I've been successful, the opportunity has come up now. It's the right moment, the right situation, an offer you can't refuse type of thing. So I'm happy with it.





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