Clint Dempsey Signs With Tottenham – Why Didn’t MLS Clubs Pursue Him?

After spending several seasons with Fulham of the English Premier League, America’s best soccer player was ready for a change.

Clint Dempsey was pursued by different clubs, mostly from the EPL and some from other international leagues. He finally made his decision Friday.

According to Yahoo, Dempsey signed with Tottenham of the EPL for $22 million+ for 3 years.

MLS teams were never really in the picture to sign Dempsey. Apparently the money he was asking was too much for any MLS team.

This is half the problem for MLS right now.


Clint Dempsey signed with Tottenham. (Image credit: Getty)

The financial divide between what MLS can afford to pay important players who can help grow the game stateside and what is necessary to sign them is telling.

At this point in the lifetime of MLS, it is the right time for a player like Clint Dempsey to be scoring goals regularly in the States for his MLS club. The investment is necessary to maintain interest for sports fans and keep the upward trending momentum of soccer in the sports media going.

It’s either be able to sign more high-profile players or bring on more teams–the other half of the problem.

Nineteen teams is not going to suffice for television ratings purposes.

Television ratings success is the absolute key for getting over the hump and becoming more mainstream and more profitable. It will either take a group of more awesome players or bringing together many more teams to fill in areas of the U.S. without a rooting interest.

Dempsey couldn’t afford to give MLS a discount now because he’s in his prime. But MLS teams should have jumped at the chance to sign him anyway.  Dempsey is a true goal-scorer, and he’s feisty. He could rally the league.

He also has an interesting back story. Some of his grit and determination come from his humble upbringing and the death of his sister.


Now, instead of being the new face of MLS, Dempsey will add on to his American records in the EPL.

The status quo for MLS remains intact. No major changes appear on the horizon. The league has done well to get to this point, but what’s next? Is it a major signing of a player or another team to add?

And what about Jozy Altidore?  The American goal-scorers must be a priority for MLS.

It can still work out for Dempsey in MLS though.

After his contract with Tottenham ends in 3 years, he may decide it’s the right time to take a little less money for his talents and make it back to the fields of MLS (he played for New England very early in his career, before he was a star player).


Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of

About Howard M Alperin

Husband, Father, Teacher, Planner, Advisor, Counselor, Social Worker, Businessman, Consultant, Blogger, Author, Entrepreneur, Inventor, YMCA Coach, Marketer, Innovator, Advertiser, Promoter, Court Appointed Special Advocate to children, Volunteer, Runner, Athlete, Spanish Speaker, Non-Sports Card Collector, Dog Agility Enthusiast and OIF Veteran.


  1. Mls will never get big players in their prime because of the stupid salary cap system. People have been saying the Mls is growing for years… It’s really not. Big stars just come to retire here, sometimes. On the Dempsey part, he wanted to experience champions league football. That’s why he moved.

  2. I respect your drive for MLS teams to rise in world stature. Having said that, I am curious if you arerious when you ask why a US club didn’t bid. This has absolutely nothing to do with money. Dempsey wants to not only play in the most competitive league, but for a Champions League conteder. He got his wish in Tottenham.
    I would offer that the US game is much better served by Dempsey succeeding in the Premier League rather than plying his trade for Salt Lake or Columbus. I think Dempsey to Spurs is a victory for US soccer

    • And no, he didn’t want to play in the CONCACAF Champions League. One thing that even money cannot overcome in the short term is the stature of MLS and CONCACAF competition as a whole. Clint wants to play at the highest level and that means playing for a club capable of being represented in the UEFA Champions League. To reiterate what Clay said, this was not a money issue.

  3. Good post, do you have any others on this topic?

  4. Good post, do you have any others on this topic?

  5. Good writing skills here, I like it :)

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