Clint Dempsey admits that the light of attention changed him later in his career as he felt responsible for his club and American football.

Four years away from the game and on the eve of his induction into the U.S. National Football Hall of Fame, he is free to be himself.

“I felt that when I first came to the league, I was more open. I showed people my identity more, ”he said. “As you get older and then you start making more money, and then the more pressure comes along with the role you play, almost the opposite. I became more closed, I didn’t want to bring too much drama, which would add even more pressure and expectations. “

After scoring 57 goals to equal the U.S. international record set by Landon Donau, Dempsey will be put to work Saturday in Frisco, Texas, along with midfielder Shannon Boxing, striker Marco Etchevery, coach Linda Hamilton and referee.

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“Clint is different on a personal level,” said Bruce Arena, Dempsey’s first and last coach in the United States. “He was playing with a chip on his shoulder. He was not going to be friends. He wanted to be a good player and score goals, and he did. And he was never afraid to face the challenge. “

In 2007, 2011 and 2012, Dempsey was named the best player of the US Football Federation for the national team from 2004 to 2017. He has scored 129 goals in the league: 25 for New England from 2004-06, 50 for Fulham from 2017-12, seven for Tottenham in 2012-13 and 47 for Seattle from 2013-18.

“I always had to prove myself, and nothing was easy,” said the 39-year-old Texan, “but it gave me peace of mind in the end, because it made things so much better when things worked out.”

Dempsey started as a walking midfielder, became a broad midfielder and finished as a striker. His best club years were in England with Fulham.

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He returned to the U.S. with the Sounders in August 2013. Becoming one of the highest paid names in the Premier League.

“I had grandparents who died,” he said, “and you’re starting to think, dude, that being across the pond is really far from everyone. And it was also an opportunity to take care of my family in a wonderful way with what I was offered to return. ”

Among the current generation, Christian Pulisic spoke about the burden that is expected in the big moments. Dempsey says his current job as a television broadcaster is more free.

“You have the pressure to perform, whether you’re an analyst or doing something else, but it wasn’t the pressure I felt as a designated player and should always play at the highest level,” Dempsey said: “If all else fails, I was blamed. And then also given that the two heart treatments I underwent at the end limited me in terms of my performances.”

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The 2016 season Dempsey was interrupted by an irregular heartbeat. He returned in 2017 and nearly prevented the US from qualifying for the World Cup. He came out early in the second half and hit the post in the 77th minute of the infamous defeat of Trinidad and Tobago with a score of 2: 1.

Dempsey nicknamed Dews, his rapper nickname early in his career and a T-shirt number in Seattle, provided a fiery advantage. He was excluded from the US list for the pre-match for the World Cup in Germany in 2006 after the Revolution rejected him for a training fight with club captain Joe Frankin.

“I don’t know if competitiveness is the right word, but I’ve never played with a player who – I know people often use that term with him – like him, had a chip on his shoulder,” Donavan said. “It was against an opponent, sometimes against teammates, sometimes against referees or a coach. He would find something that would give him such an advantage, and if he came to such thinking, he could not be stopped.”

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Dempsey was a pioneer in England, in 2012 he became the first American to make a hat-trick in the Premier League in Fulham’s 5-2 victory over Newcastle.

He recalled his most memorable goals as the first in the 2004 Revolution against MetroStars; his first for the national team in a friendly match against England in 2005 at Chicago’s Soldier Field; his first at the World Cup, against Ghana in 2006; and his 29-second goal against the Black Stars in 2010, making him the first American to score in three World Cups.

He worked as an analyst at CBS Paramount during qualifying and will host Fox’s broadcast during this year’s World Cup.

“You can just talk, have fun, no agenda,” he said. “This is what I admire. I like that it hasn’t been week by week because I like being retired. I love fishing, golf and hunting, I run children – I have five of them (19 months but 13 years). So I’m busy. I don’t want to get full time every week. “

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