Clint Dempsey on His Heart, His Career in addition to Another Chance at a Title

“I started off getting symptoms in February, having palpitations where my heart was beating fast in addition to I didn’t actually understand why which was happening,” he said. “in addition to as the year was progressing we were trying to figure out what was going on, doing all different kinds of tests. in addition to This specific wasn’t until after Copa América which I got a chip — a monitor — put in my chest.”

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Dempsey said his diagnosis ended months of frustration in addition to worry. “When they put the monitor in in addition to they were able to figure out what the problem was, which was kind of the most reassuring thing — which This specific’s not going to affect your life.”

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Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

This specific was the monitor which allowed medical professionals to spot an anomaly during one Sounders game. This specific was deemed significant enough to put Dempsey on the season-ending injury list, just as his team was hitting the form which swept This specific to its first M.L.S. championship.

Amid the emotions of the end of which campaign, Dempsey found himself beginning a longer personal journey, one where progress might be — at best — gradual in addition to provisional. yet after months of testing, he said, just knowing what he was dealing with, in addition to having a path to follow, was a relief.

“When they put the monitor in in addition to they were able to figure out what the problem was, which was kind of the most reassuring thing — which This specific’s not going to affect your life,” Dempsey said. “You know, I’m married with four kids, in addition to the most important thing for me can be family, so. …”

Dempsey left which thought hanging, yet the suggestion was all too apparent. The importance of family can be a recurring theme when Dempsey speaks, whether he can be talking about the life he was able to provide for his wife in addition to children when he chose to make the lucrative — yet professionally risky — move through the Premier League to Major League Soccer, in addition to the Sounders in 2013, or the financial in addition to different sacrifices his parents made when he was learning the game in sharp-elbowed games on dusty fields in his native Texas.

Having suddenly lost his older sister to a brain aneurysm when she was 16, Dempsey knows more than most about perspective. “Obviously things happen in your life along the way,” he said. “I remember growing up, losing a sister in addition to — life can be short. Make the most of your opportunities.”

Pop psychologists in American soccer circles love to characterize Dempsey’s drive on the field in terms of his past. His former fresh England Revolution teammate Taylor Twellman, right now an ESPN analyst, talks about the “urban legend” of the tortured Clint Dempsey. Yet inside the next breath he will acknowledge which Dempsey has “a chip on his shoulder as big as Mount Everest — just This specific monumental drive.” His former national team coach, Bruce Arena, summed up Dempsey’s game in even simpler terms, using an expletive to describe the one thing which made Dempsey different through more cerebral players: He tries things others wouldn’t dare.

yet the uncertainties of the last year have tested Dempsey’s different key trait: his mental fortitude.

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Dempsey scored 12 goals inside the regular season in addition to three more inside the playoffs.

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Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

inside the early days of his comeback, Dempsey’s tentative recovery seemed symbiotically linked to the uncertain place in which his team found itself. (Two medical procedures had solved his irregular heartbeat; the first attempt at a repair was unsuccessful, frustrating Dempsey in addition to cutting short his initial comeback, yet the second one worked.) Still, Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders’ general manager, had watched his team edge Toronto for the 2016 championship on penalty kicks after failing to get a shot on target during the match, in addition to he concluded which the team needed to be overhauled for 2017.

As This specific struggled to find its form early inside the season, Lagerwey hoped for, yet could not rely on, Dempsey’s becoming a key part of which campaign.

“This specific’s always a risk,” Lagerwey said on Friday at his team’s final training session before the final. “As a general manager, you expect to never have to be right, by which I mean you want to give yourself options for things to work out. So we added to our attack, in addition to with Clint we just knew we had to be patient.

“There were moments where you could see, for sure, which he couldn’t quite trust his body to hold up, yet gradually you could see the confidence coming back, in addition to by early summer, This specific wasn’t a particular moment where you get to say, ‘He’s back,’ yet the goals were coming in addition to the fresh players around him were generating him better by giving him options.”

Dempsey, a striker, wound up playing in 29 games, in addition to scoring 12 goals, in addition to he has added three more inside the playoffs. right now, a year after missing the final, Dempsey, 34, can be back at full throttle that has a stronger Sounders team than the one which prevailed last year, though This specific will face a Toronto team which can be considered among the finest in league history.

Not which being an underdog will worry Dempsey. Nor will he be dwelling on the personal significance of This specific game, in addition to of getting a title on his own terms, for his legacy. His own brush with professional in addition to personal mortality has put his career into healthy perspective.

“I’m at peace with what I’ve been able to accomplish, not only domestically, yet abroad, in addition to what I was able to do on the international level,” he said. “Being able to be a kid for which long period of time, being able to do something which you love: Those are things I’m going to think about.”

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