U.S. Men's National Team

Klinsmann names Dempsey USMNT captain for qualifiers

Clint Dempsey


Clint Dempsey has been carrying the scoring load on the U.S. Men’s National Team for as long as anyone can remember, and now he will also be carrying the burden of leadership as the team’s newest captain.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has appointed the Tottenham star as the new U.S. captain for the upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

“Clint is one of our most experienced players and ready to assume a more vocal leadership role,” said Klinsmann. “He has been huge for us in World Cup Qualifying so far and is already one of our key leaders. We know he will do a great job for these two important games.”

Dempsey has made 92 appearances for the USMNT, and has been especially efficient in World Cup qualifying, notching 11 goals in 27 qualifying appearances.

Dempsey takes over for Carlos Bocanegra, who was not called into U.S. camp due to his lack of playing time with Racing Santander. He has worn the armband one other time in his career, during the second half of the U.S. team’s scoreless draw vs. Colombia on Oct. 12, 2010 at PPL Park.

What do you think of the decision to make Dempsey captain? Like the choice? Who would you have named captain?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Travis

    Not the choice I would have made but it isn’t terrible. Not sure he is good to go for 90 minutes considering he hasn’t been playing a ton for club and I generally think the captain should be someone who plays the whole game. Also he doesn’t really strike me as having the presence a captain. My choice would have been Bradley but by default if you look at the roster Dempsey would probably have been my second choice


    • biff

      Dempsey commands respect on the field and is one of the guys, which I don’t see with Michael Bradley.


      • Paul Miller

        Yeah, I agree. Bradley is the heart and soul of the team, and the sense I get is everyone on the field has no questions about that. But… there’s different kinds of leadership. Bradley is focused intensity. I think its safe to say he’s not the guy you want talking to referees.

        (Whether fair or not, every referee he encounters for the rest of his career is going to see him as the guy from the 2009 confederations cup semis.)


      • Shark

        You can not be serious….Bradley is indeed a leader and in fact as much as I love Dempsey as a player I have never thought of him as a leader on or off the pitch…some guys just are not as great a players as they be….


    • alf

      He’s the heart and soul of the team right now. There was no other choice and he might be the best of the best. Let’s just see!


  • biff

    YESSSSSSSS! Out-Fricking-Standing! Finally some great news out of Denver. Very happy that Clint Dempsey is named captain. On this roster, Clint is the logical choice. Unlike another player some people were touting for captain, I am certain that Klinsmann can trust Dempsey, Klinsmann will be able to confide in Dempsey without fear that private conversations will be passed on to Klinsmann enemies, that Klinsmann truly personally likes Dempsey, and I do not believe for one second that Clint or any of his associates were anonymous sources attacking Klinsmann in that explosive news article.


    • MJC-DC

      I’m fine with this choice as captain and I’m as hopeful as you it pay dividends. That said, correct me if I’m wrong, the other player people were clamoring for that you leave unnamed is Michael Bradley. Why do you feel he would not be a good captain? I personally would have been more than pleased with Bradley and I am, as stated above happy with Clint as the choice as well.


      • Pirithous

        Didn’t you read the post? It’s because Bradley will pass sensitive information on to Klinsmann’s enemies!

        You never disappoint, Biff.


  • Lake

    Hard to argue. He’s a little “unstable” temper-wise (as far as with the refs, others players, etc) but maybe that’s exactly what this team needs. He’ll be great.


    • Old School

      I think the temper and fight he exudes is exactly what the Nats need and should embody.

      I haven’t been a soccer fan for more than 10 years but as a fairly new fan, I was immediately put off at how passive in nature and physicality so many soccer players are.

      Dempsey does not fall under that category and his attitude and toughness immediately made him my favorite player.

      That’s the kind of guy I’d want as my Captain.


      • Lil' Zeke

        Yech, new fan, If you can’t hyphenate with “Smashmouth – ” you just don’t get it,

        Anywho, maybe coach does this to awaken the qualities in Deuce that the MBs and Bocas already have in spades, Leadership, team mentality. Then you’ve really got something,


      • malkin

        Or as those in the EPL have said, he has that “american swagger”


    • biff

      It seemed to be the best choice even before the news article yesterday, and after the news article Klinsmann more than ever had to have a captain he can trust and like and be certain that it was a player who had not been anonymously talking behind your his saying bad things about him to a reporter (or maybe feeding information to an associate to pass on to a reporter)? I cannot be 100% certain, but I would be stunned if Dempsey was part of the mutiny.

      I have new respect for Klinsmann to finally show some guts and not cave into pressure from that faction who hates him and I think Clint is going to be great captain and I would hate to be Costa Rica right now because they are going to get whipped real bad Friday night. I feel it deep down inside.


      • Dan

        coming from Caribbean to 40 degrees…in the mountains thin air against a really PO’d coach and team…gonna be a bloodbath


  • Jake

    You could just has easily have had Bradley as captain. I would have preferred Bradley based on what I’ve seen of both players, but Klinsmann knows the player dynamics way more than anyone outside the national team like myself. I’m fine deferring this choice to him.


  • Monty

    He is one of the most experienced and probably the most accomplished player on the roster. So it is understandable why he was named captain.


  • Steve

    You know, probably not who I would have expected, but I kind of like it. Seems like a good idea to keep asking more of Dempsey, he seems like he always rises to the occasion. Hope it turns out well.


  • el bastardo

    I was expecting Bradley. He’s high intensity on/off the pitch. The way Klinsmann trotted him out for the press prior to the Honduras match made it seem like that was the direction the situation was headed. I haven’t seen much in the way of leadership from Deuce, but maybe there’s more to him than we see? Maybe we’ll see a higher intensity Deuce on the pitch?


    • biff

      “He’s high intensity on/off the pitch.”

      And Clint’s not? The question is how the teammates feel about the captain and I would bet most of the team respects Clint and feels more at ease with him than MB. I just have a hard time seeing MB communicating and leading his teammates. But Clint, his down-home Texas and I think the boys will feel much more at home with him than with MB.

      Finally, a smart move from Klinsmann. Let’s hope that there are more to come. I think that Sporting News article might be the best thing that has ever happened to Klinsmann and could be a boost this team. At least I hope so.


      • biff

        I’m glad some others are also feeling optimistic and hopeful. I’m not a psychiatrist, honest. But I read newspaper story once about dysfunctional families, which I guess sort of makes me an expert in psychiatry, and the story quoted shrinks saying that sometimes a dysfunctional family had to go through a major crisis and breakdown before they could even realize there was a problem and then try to fix it and recover. And then with the recovery they were stronger and better.

        Well, that what I feel is happening right now to the US Men’s National Team and Papa Klinsmann. Crisis, breakdown, and now recovery. Let the good times roll. And I repeat: I am so glad Clint was named captain. I think this young team will follow him into battle in these next two games like their following General George Patton…


  • Sandtrout

    I get what Arena is saying, even though his choice of words is a little too broad. Strictly speaking, those German-born players are Americans. But I think he’s right that at this stage we shouldn’t be going to Germany to beg FIVE players to come play for us. Fabian Johnson is special. The rest? Even Jermaine Jones we could do without: He’s useful, but he’s a lot like Bradley in the role he plays. If he’s going to be obsessed with any dual nationals, it should be Mexican-Americans not Germans.


    • skyman

      I think Jermaine Jones, when having a good game, is one of the best to ever don the uniform.
      If anyone saw how the offense went through him in the first Schalke vs Galatasary game will know what I’m talking about: He absolutely bossed that game.


      • Francois

        +1 Agreed. The hate on him by “U.S.” fans is unwarranted.


      • MiamiAl

        +1. Jermaine Jones is one of our best players, and certainly could have been a candidate for the captain armband himself…


  • lprevolution

    The man put 11 players on his back at Fulham for 5 years. Truly the Lone Star on this team. Capitan Duece!


    • biff

      I am not saying this will happen, but I will not be surprised if one or two players who we would normally expect to see either on the field or on the bench will unexpectedly not dress againsst Costa Rica and Mexico, if you know what I mean. Just a hunch I have.


      • biff

        oops. sorry, Iprevolution. didn’t mean for that post to be a reply to you. But, since I am here, I will say that I agree 100% with your sentiment on Captain Deuce.


      • jlm

        What do you mean? Who would not start and why?

        maybe I should not have asked…


      • CroCajun

        From what I gather from his previous comments is that Biff thinks (though he’s not actually coming out and saying) is that he believes Bradley is the one that leaked the story and further more is attempting to lead a mutiny within the team.

        Which is ridiculous…


  • 2tone

    Solid choice. Maybe Bradley declined the armband. Not saying that happened, but we all don’t see what happens behind closed doors.

    Anyways moving onwards and upwards.


  • Anthony

    I’m just afraid Klinsmann is going to chuck Dempsey out there for 90 when he probably won’t be able to be effective for that long. I think in Jamaica earlier after Deuce was coming off injury it happened, and he kind of burned out after about 60 minutes and never got taken out.


  • Isaac

    As far as speaking to the ref and/or other team, Dempsey will be fine, he doesn’t need words, he has the Dempsey Face!


  • Brett

    Role has defaulted to him. I don’t think he’s captain material. He doesn’t show the work rate and communication skills necessary. Bradley is the obvious choice assuming he is in the starting 11.


  • chris_thebassplayer

    Not the pick I would have gone with under “normal” circumstances, but most likely the one pick that would offer the best chance to keep the team from fracturing any further…a compromise pick. If in fact MB is not on the same page as JK, we have big problems. Hopefully the boys rally around Deuce, he has enough presence to set the tone.

    Man, Sunil’s head must be spinning right now.

    It will be interesting to see if they eventually bring in an additional voice as a tactician…maybe a non-threatening coach already in the system…Javi Perez?


  • MikeG

    Hopefully JK will get the team on a better tactical plan. Look here everybody in 2006 Germany was the host and did not have to go through a qualifying campaign. The type of Yoga, fitness training, and other weird things worked for Germany at that time: they needed fitness to give them an edge. Germany had a fitness edge in Germany. JK was right for the right moment in Germany. Fast forward to the USA: we have to go through a qualifying campaign, friendlies is the time in introduce new players and look down the road. In qualifying it’s a tournament itself. No time for Yoga, and other weird stuff (time wasting). For the most part players coming in are already ‘game fit’. Why smoke them with fitness drills? JK needs to get serious about the tactics, formations, and how the players best fit into the schemes. Stop trying to repeat what you did with the DFB National ELF Jurgen Klinnsman. The USA is a set of different circumstances.


  • Smacking

    It’s probably a smart choice and I’ll be proud to see Dempsey lead the team out on the field. Bradley despite his leadership and skill would probably be a step backwards for Klinsmann’s change agenda. I do find it interesting that the coach who rarely announces such things suddenly goes public days ahead of the game. Hopefully it’s a sign that everyone is taking steps to turn the corner.


  • the original jb

    The cynic in me has to wonder if this is damage control by Klinnsman, who surely knows how popular Dempsey is with the fans.

    I never felt like Dempsey had the personality for the armband. The interactions I’ve most often seen from him with teammates on the field has been frustration or barking at the refs. But hey people change and grow. He has a new baby, maybe he takes the honor as a challenge to be a great leader. For sure, Dempsey is at his best when challenged.


  • ChiTown

    New news:

    Michael Bradley spoke out and called the players who spoke to Straus “shameful” and “embarrassing.”


  • Shane

    Bradley may be the right long term choice, but given the circumstances after the Sporting News article, I have to think Deuce is the man. And Brian McBride probably had a say in it. Good news and Michael wont have a problem with it.


    • Raymon

      Did you sit on the remote and accidentally switched the channel from Dancing With the Stars? What forum do you think you are on?


    • fan of football

      Sounds pretty similar to his comments after the 2009 Confed Cup Egypt match. I hope this lights a fire like that!


  • cps

    Deuce wasn’t my first choice but hopefully this will be a motivating factor for him. We really need him involved and his head in the game on Friday.


  • Skippy

    Nothing against Clint Dempsey. He would be in anyone’s top three for the Captaincy.

    Having said that, I would have chosen Michael Bradley…particularly given the recent Sporting News article. Klinsmann and Martin Vasquez reportedly lack focus (or aptitude) in on-the-pitch strategy. Michael seems to be the tactical leader (general) of the squad. He was raised by a coach and he plays a more central position. I was hoping that, as Captain, he would further assert some of that tactical leadership…to compensate for the apparent void left by the coaching staff.


  • Big Red

    Been waiting for the armband to pass for many years. Thank goodness it is Dempsey. He is an animal. Jermaine Jones I think was the likely number two since he actually has worn the USA captain’s armband before a couple times and had it passed to him during a game. I’m not so hot with Bradley like everyone else. There have been multiple games but I remember two and a half years ago in Azteca when a fight broke out. Michael Bradley ran away like a little girl. Dempsey and Feilhaber actually stood up for their teammates.


  • Brain Guy

    For Friday’s match, I’m hoping to see lots of giant pictures of Dempsey with that weird face he made in Jamaica match. It’s Deuce in a nutshell.


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