The MLS Made Sure Clint Dempsey Signed With The Seattle Sounders
Via SI: “But Dempsey’s perspective had changed by July 18. He was up for coming back to MLS, but the only teams he was interested in playing for were Seattle, Los Angeles and Toronto… While most MLS owners appear to be happy that Dempsey has joined the league, not all of them were satisfied with the process in which Seattle got him. “The league wanted Dempsey in Seattle,” said one rival league executive. Some MLS owners were confused by the mechanism of Dempsey’s arrival, thinking that like other returning U.S. national team players, he would be part of the allocation process. (Seattle rival Portland is No. 1 on the allocation list.) But the league emphasized that Designated Players do not go through the allocation process, citing Claudio Reyna‘s DP move to New York in 2006 as the precedent.”
Here’s what you need to know. Clint Dempsey was coming home. He was playing for only one of three teams (Seattle, LA and Montreal.) As noted in the article, Montreal realized the league was better off with Dempsey in the states and the league realized the perception of the league as a one league team (LA) would be further intensified if he ended up there. So Seattle was the easy pick. The fans are legit, they show up and they’re going to appreciate Dempsey more than most MLS cities, in my opinion.
People are going to complain, and they have a valid reason, the problem, however, is that we need this for soccer to grow. We need our big players to play in markets where they appreciate soccer. Sure, Portland had the inside track on the allocation list, but Portland isn’t Seattle. Not yet however. Soon, maybe, but for now we need players to be on teams that are going to be on TV. Seattle is one of those teams. Recently the MLS commissioner suggested expansion was in the leagues future. That’s great and all and viewership has certainly improved, but the MLS is still not taken seriously. In all honestly, the soccer isn’t even that good on most days. But it is improving and for the sport to continue to grow, we need our stars in big markets. With the US Men’s National Team currently riding their longest winning streak ever, people are starting to take notice here in the US.
It’s a good time for Clint Dempsey to come home and Seattle is pretty good spot for him to land.