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British soccer sensation is a rural Texas boy who looks to Heaven after each goal he scores

Making English Premier League soccer history, the intense kid from rural Texas scored a “hat trick” – three goals in a single match for Fulham. Only a few days later, did he it again — the first American ever to do so once, much less twice.

And each time after Clint Dempsey scored, he looked to the sky.

Only reluctantly will he tell you why. As a 10- and 11-year-old local soccer phenomenon, Dempsey grew up outside of Nacogdoches, deep in Texas football territory.

Clint Dempsey looks to heaven


There, he earned youth soccer coaches’ attention — and dread — with his young hunger to score and his instinctual ability to “finish” – to be there just at the right split-second to slam the soccer ball into the net.

Dempsey recalls how as a 7- and 8-year-old, he loved kicking basketballs with Hispanic buddies with their bare feet on any available grassy patch with piles of rocks as their goalposts. If six kids showed up, they competed 3-on-3. If 12 came, 6-on-6. If it was 30 – including big sisters and little brothers, they played 15-on-15. They didn’t need coaches or referees blowing whistles; they just played for hours, enjoying the sheer joy of soccer.

As a third grader, “I was hooked,” Dempsey tells the British daily the Guardian. “The popular kids at school would be like, ‘What are you doing, man?’ I played all the other sports, too. But I hated all the waiting to bat that you get in baseball. And there were too many stoppages in football. Soccer was continuous, free-flowing and exciting – and I was good at it too.”


“His family could see he had talent,” reports the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor, “and when he reached 10, they decided to do something about it. His dad, Aubrey, drove him toDallas to trials for a club team called the Longhorns.”

The coach for the Under-12 team threw a ball to the youngster, watched Clint do a few fancy moves he’d learned from neighborhood buddies and their dads – and immediately declared: “I want him.”

Easily 10-year-old Dempsey made the starting lineup for the — Continued on Page 2

  • Kevin

    Amazing player on the best soccer championship in the world!

  • Paul LJ Catlow

    Glad to have him. At least this pro footballer won’t be going out at night getting incapably drunk, picking fights, crashing high-powered sports cars (with or without loss of other lives) or raping women. Maybe he might rub off on some of our home-grown overpaid prima donnas who think that they’re untouchable and can do whatever the Hell they like, knowing their club can pay high-powered lawyers to bail them out! (Yes – English pro football has seen all these things happen and more. From outright rape, through a young drunken idiot crashing his sports car into a family group walking on the pavement – two dead. And just dumb things, like the footballer who let off a high-powered firework in his bathroom, and caused a major fire brigade call-out costing half a million pounds…) English football does have its good guys, but there are so many idiots and unpleasant wasters. Maybe a well-behaved American lad is what it needs. And as a bonus, the USA’s national side gets a player who can hold his own in one of the toughest pro leagues in the world – a win all round!

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