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Dempsey addresses referee incident, USMNT captaincy situation

photo by Jim Brown/USA Today Sports


Clint Dempsey is not dwelling on the past nor is he concerning himself too much with losing the captain’s armband.

Instead, he is focusing on helping the U.S. Men’s National Team any way he can.

Dempsey played in his first competitive game in nearly two-and-a-half weeks on Friday, helping the Americans defeat Guatemala, 4-0, in their final CONCACAF Gold Cup tuneup. But the friendly marked more than just his return to action for either club or country, as Dempsey did not serve as the U.S. captain for the first time in two years.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann took the armband away from Dempsey and gave it to veteran midfielder Michael Bradley earlier this week. The decision was not entirely surprising given Dempsey’s recent run-in with a U.S. Open Cup referee and is one that the 32-year-old forward understands and has no resentment about.

“It’s cool,” said Dempsey after the victory at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. “Michael is a great leader, he deserves to be captain, and for me, I’m just excited to be part of the team that is trying to push to win the Gold Cup and be a part of the Confederations Cup.

“I got to experience being captain during the World Cup, and for me that was something special and I’ll always remember it, but it’s never been a big thing for me to be captain. Even with my club team in Seattle I’m not the captain. For me, it’s just about the team and just trying to win and win games and trying to do something special.”

Dempsey also briefly addressed the recent referee fiasco that resulted in him earning a three-game suspension in MLS. Dempsey – who was sent off for taking a match official’s notebook and ripping it up – said he had moved past the incident and was solely concentrating on helping the Americans successfully defend their Gold Cup title.

“That’s something I’ve put behind me,” said Dempsey. “I’ve talked with my teammates, talked with coaches. I’m just focused on moving forward, focused on the Gold Cup and making sure we win it, and putting ourselves in a position to make sure we’re qualifying for the Confederations Cup.”

Dempsey helped the U.S. prevail in its final friendly before the start of the Gold Cup on July 7. The Seattle Sounders forward turned in a 90-minute shift against Guatemala and scored an insurance goal in the second half, hitting a “panenka” penalty kick in the 72nd minute of the victory.

“For strikers, it’s always about getting the goal,” said Klinsmann. “He got the goal. I think that kind of helped and lifted him. We saw that after the goal, he kind of got a better rhythm, and he was more mobile.”


  1. no worries here. Clint is one of the greatest USA ever. that ref deserved to have his notebook ripped apart. this was all about nothing. the suspension was fine and now the issue is over. its funny how soccer orgs never have to apologize for their mistakes-FIFA Coulibaly and then this ref. The ref was a joke and Clint tearing up his book was a joke- a funny one too! So no, Clint doesnt need to apologize. maybe some pr flak can do that.

    • “that ref deserved to have his notebook ripped apart”
      “Clint tearing up his book was a joke- a funny one too!”

      i think you just contradicted yourself, mate.
      but i’m guessing that’s pretty normal for you, right?
      have a happy, rambling day!

  2. Clint dempsey is a sensible player. If he got that angry at the referee (that he tore up his book) then i’m guessing that he had a PRETTY GOOD REASON for feeling that way.

    • He may be a sensible guy, but he absolutely went over the line and was anything but sensible. Maybe some people are too insistent on hearing an abject apology, but it’s just silly to try to defend Dempsey’s actions in that game. Nothing justifies that.

      • No kidding. Clint Mathis comes immediately to mind as a rejoinder. As for Dempsey himself, I guess this poster has never seen Dempsey give an interview. Whenever I have seen him, he is always about the team first.

    • I don’t see what’s particularly arrogant in what he says? I think most people knew the captaincy wasn’t a huge deal to him – Ives has said that dozens of times on this site.

    • Tim D.

      None of the guys on the USMNT are humble nor should they be. They are the best players America has.

      Regardless of the level of his humility, Clint is the most reliably dangerous player the US has..

  3. Being from Tx. and being a fan of soccer, Ive followed Deuce a long time. Dont know the source. But Clint has an edge that is a two edged sword. Hes very proud competitive and daring in his game. He has done some special things and achieved a level many Americans have not. And only a very few have. His edge serves his talent and game well. But when it leaves the GAME and is released other places it seems to be somewhat destructive. Hes 32 got game and for a while longer. I know Clint suffered tragedy as a young man and has parents that were devoted. Hes got skills many.Americans do not. Hes got creative ideas and is daring enuff to try things in games. Wish him well. Hope he saves all that intensity for games only. And the US needs to be seeking his heir apparent.

  4. So by “addressing the situation regarding the incident with the referee,” what the article meant was “not addressing the situation regarding the referee.” Thanks for the apology, Deuce. No wonder you’re not a captain of anything.

    • Dempsey literally <a href="apologized" 10 days ago: “I would like to apologize for my actions in the U.S. Open Cup.” You simply missed it and assumed that since it wasn’t served up under your nose that it never happened.

  5. I like Dempsey. He just was never Captain material, another Klinsmann error. Also, in my opinion he should be the last taking free kicks or pks. In fact, Michael Bradley should take more of these free kicks, if he’s got the confidence.

    • Definitely agree about Dempsey on all points. I think there are others who can take the kicks though, in addition to Mikey.

      • SilverRey,

        The position of designated “dead ball specialist ” has been filled by many USMNT players over the years.

        I’ve seen Mikey, Jozy, Clint, Donovan, etc. etc.,.etc, do great things with free kicks Brek Shea has scored nice goals for the US from free kicks..

        It’s a position that will always be rotated depending on who is hot and confident at the moment.

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