Sean O'Shea by Sean O'Shea
Clint Dempsey, U.S. soccer hero, an Irish rags to riches story
Posted on Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 10:45 PM
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Clinton Dempsey's ancestral name in Gaelic means 'proud' and this grandson of Irish immigrants certainly felt that way after scoring the golden goal that earned the United States a precious draw with England yesterday .
No doubt the Irish ancestors would have been especially happy that the goal came against the 'old enemy' in England.
Dempsey grew up near the Mexican border in a trailer park in Texas. His story is a true rags to riches one
He and his brother Ryan learned their soccer skills playing every day with Hispanic neighbors and friends on a patch of ground and the two Irish American kids learned a more skillful and creative game than most U.S players as a result.
His older brother Ryan was offered a tryout for the Dallas Texans, one of America's best youth soccer clubs, but it was young Clint, who had come along to accompany his brother was noticed and recruited while passing time juggling a ball on the sidelines.
Dempsey became a standout on the team at an early age, but had to quit due to his family's poor financial condition and money constraints as his eldest sister Jennifer was becoming a ranked youth tennis player.
But several parents of his teammates with the Texans offered to assist the Dempseys with expenses and travel, allowing him to rejoin the club.
Soon he was on his way to the big leagues, a move confirmed in 2006 when English Premier League side Fulham paid a $4 million transfer fee for Dempsey, then the largest amount ever offered for an MLS player.
Now he has scored the most famous goal since the U.S. defeated England in the 1950 World Cup. Sure it was a lucky strike, but the luck of the Irish worked just fine for Clint on this occasion.