Clint Dempsey Talks USA’s World Cup Hopes

The soccer star relives his loan to Fulham and his choice for world’s greatest player.

The USA is in one of the toughest World Cup groups in Brazil – was there a feeling of disappointment when the draw was made?

Not at all. That’s why you go to the World Cup – to play against the best teams and be involved in exciting games, and that is certainly going to happen. It is a tough draw, but it could have been tougher. I expect qualification to go down into the last game for every team in the group.

What is going to be the key to getting out of such a competitive group?

I don’t know if there is a key, but it is important to get off to a good start because you ideally don’t want to be in the position where you are hoping for other teams to slip up. We are due for a win against Ghana, so hopefully we can get off to a strong start and put ourselves in a good position.

You played a big part when the USA defeated Germany 4-3 last year. Does that give you confidence that you can do it again?

I don’t think people gave us enough credit for that result since it was not Germany’s A team. You look at some of those German players who played that game though and they are now some of the most in demand players in the world. Of course, it will be a different Germany team we face in Brazil, but we have to have confidence we can get a result.

This World Cup promises to have some of the finest players of the generation – who is the best in the world for you?

I voted for Ronaldo as the greatest in the world most recently, and based on the last year he has been, but in terms of talent and ability I don’t think there is anything between him and Messi.

Why the decision to rejoin Fulham on a two month loan spell?

For me, Fulham will always be my home outside of The States. I had a great time here and I want to help them pull away from the relegation zone. Obviously, in a World Cup year I want to get myself as sharp as possible too, and this is a great opportunity to help me with that.

Like many modern athletes, diet is a big thing for you, right?

At this level it has to be – you can’t eat a big burger and fries on a Friday night and expect to be at your best on the Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t deprive myself of what I enjoy. I will have a couple of beers or some cheesecake – but never close to a game – and I make sure 99% of what I consume is for the benefit of my body.

You are a pretty low-key guy – not as extravagant as other players that have played for top European teams. Would you agree?

Everybody needs to do what they enjoy – but you are not going to find me in Ibiza or South Beach in the off season. I travel all season – so for my vacation in the summer I just want to rent a little place and go fishing and hang out with my friends and family.

Photos by Kevin C. Cox/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014