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Clint Dempsey announces retirement from professional soccer

SEATTLE -- Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey on Wednesday announced his retirement after a 15-year career in professional soccer.

Dempsey is a former U.S. Men's National Team captain who played professionally in Major League Soccer and the English Premiere League. He joined the Sounders in 2013 and was part of the squad that won the MLS Cup in 2016.

"After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game," said Dempsey. "I'd like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I've worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I'm grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. Men's National Team. Y'all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember."

"As far as I'm concerned, Clint Dempsey is the greatest player in the history of our country," said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. "His mark on both our club and the United States Men's National Team is indelible, and his hard-earned reputation as a trailblazer for our nation in Europe helped pave the way for generations of future Americans abroad. His service to our game deserves special recognition, and we know our fans will give him that prior to Saturday's match at CenturyLink Field."

Dempsey is the only American to score in three consecutive FIFA World Cups and is currently tied for the USMNT all-time record with 57 career international goals.

He started in 100 out of 115 appearances in regular season-play scoring 47 goals with the Sounders FC. He joined Seattle in August of 2013.

"It's been an honor to coach Clint Dempsey for the past five years," said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. "As a soccer fan, I admired his game and his career for years before he came to Seattle, and to coach a player with his quality is any manager's wish. I'm very happy that he decided to share his talents with the Sounders community and I wish him luck in the next chapter of his life."

Dempsey also played seven years in the English Premier League and holds the record for most goals by an American in that league.

"Very few players have meant as much to the growth of soccer in this country as Clint Dempsey. On top of his exploits and accomplishments as a soccer player, his unique style and attitude transcended the game and made him a fan favorite all over the world," said Sounders FC Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson. "From what he accomplished in MLS, England and with the National Team, he will always be remembered as a pioneer of American soccer. I'd like to thank Clint for everything he's done for our sport, and wish him and his family the best going forward."

Dempsey will be honored Sunday, September 1, in a pre-match ceremony before Sounders FC takes on Sporting Kansas City. Catch that game on JOEtv at 1 p.m.