Clint Dempsey: Is He the Best American-Born Soccer Player Ever?

Nick LCorrespondent IApril 10, 2012

Chelsea was pressing on the attack and Fulham was feeling the heat when, in the 44th minute, Chelsea was awarded a penalty, which was converted by Frank Lampard for his 150th league goal.

Fulham played a great second half and managed to get more shots on target than Chelsea.

Then eight minutes from time, a Damien Duff corner that went straight to the head of American Clint Dempsey, landed just inside Petr Cech's post and the game at Craven Cottage was equalized.

It was Dempsey's third goal in two games, and he furthered his club record of goals in a season to 16. By taking his tally to 16, he has surpassed and left behind Louis Saha's club record of 13 set back in 2004. This season, many worldwide have noticed Clint Dempsey and his talents.

After becoming the highest scoring American player in his 85th minute game winner against Liverpool in December, many rose their eyebrows at the question; is Clint Dempsey the best American player we have seen?

The American international has arguably been the most successful player in Europe, as we can recall flops like Freddy Adu and even Landon Donovan, whose time in Germany was less than successful.

He started his professional career with the New England Revolution in 2004. In December 2006, his current English football club offered $4 million dollars for the rights of the midfielder.

In his tenure in England, he holds many records for American-born players, surpassing Brian McBride's goals in a season, total goals, and goals in the Premier League.

Clint Dempsey is the highest goalscorer for Fulham and has 212 appearances, which is the most for active players.

His international numbers are just as impressive. The Texas native has the 4th most goals in United States history, despite having only 83 caps, which is not even in the top ten.

Most recently, he scored the lone goal in an international friendly against Italy, which marked the first time the United States had beaten Italy.

Although the United States has lagged in the production of successful overseas and domestic footballers, Clint Dempsey has stood out among the few.

He has a tough, rugged style of play. He has a fierceful dribbling ability and has an uncanny one-on-one ability to beat a player to the ball.

He saw success in being the runner up for the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield in 2005. Fulham and Dempsey saw heartache in their loss to Atletico Madrid in the Europa Cup loss back in 2010. Dempsey has drank from the cup of victory though with the USMNT winning two CONCACAF Gold Cups in 2005, and 2007.  

There is no question that in today's game of football, Clint Dempsey reigns supreme to American-born players, but is he the best of all time? Only time can tell for the 29-year-old, although he is well on his way to the title of Best American Soccer Player of All Time.

Honorable mentions; Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, Kasey Keller, Claudio Reyna, John Harkes, Thomas Dooley, Eddie Pope, Joe-Max Moore, Brian McBride, Eric Wynalda, Cobi Jones, Jess Agoos and Landon Donovan.