JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Clint Dempsey, who scored 17 Premier League goals for Fulham this season, wants to play for a European Champions League contender, a dream US coach Jurgen Klinsmann supports.
“I want to play Champions League,” Dempsey said Saturday after watching his US teammates defeat Scotland 5-1 in an international friendly.
Dempsey himself didn't play, as he recovers from a nagging groin injury, and it wasn't clear if he would return for the United States' friendly on Wednesday against Brazil in Washington.
The matches, and a friendly against Canada in Toronto on June 3, are warm-ups for the Americans' start of 2014 World Cup qualifying which they open on June 8.
But Dempsey made it clear the coming qualifying campaign in the North and Central America and Caribbean region hasn't taken his mind completely off his club future.
“Hopefully that's in the cards for me,” he said of a move to a Champions League contender. “It has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. Certain things aren't in control for me. I just have to play as hard as I can for the teams I'm on right now and that's Fulham and the US national team.
“I'm happy with the season I had, but I would like to get to another level. I know I have got a ways to go.”
Dempsey's contract with Fulham, who finished ninth in the Premier League, has one year left.
“His goal is the right goal,” Klinsmann said Friday during a conference call to discuss the upcoming US matches.
“If he has the opportunity to go a Champions League team, that's the creme de la creme in the world of club soccer, then you've got to do that. With all respect obviously to Fulham, as he often mentions, but you want to play in the biggest club competition in the world and that's the European Champions League.
“So hopefully something will happen over the next couple weeks. But if it doesn't happen, then he just has to keep kind of pounding away and knocking at the door.”
Klinsmann said Dempsey's success with Fulham had inspired younger US players.
“Now they look at Clint, they want to play where he's playing or they want to hear from him what it takes to become one of the best players in the English Premier League,” Klinsmann said. – Sapa-AFP