Greenville, S.C. – Former Furman University soccer standout and United States Men's National Team captain Clint Dempsey will be featured on the June 9, cover of Sports Illustrated, it was announced on Tuesday.
The cover photo, which shows the former Paladin wrapped in an American flag, is the second for Dempsey who appeared on the cover of the June 7, 2010, issue alongside U.S. teammates Landon Donovan and Tim Howard.
Dempsey and the U.S. National Team entertain Nigeria in a 6 p.m. friendly at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday before traveling to Brazil to finish preparations for this summer's World Cup. Saturday's match will be televised live on ESPN.
The United States opens group play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 16, versus Ghana in Natal, Brazil. The Americans face Portugal on June 22, before concluding group play against Germany on June 26. All three matches will be shown live on ESPN.
A 2002 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America choice as a Paladin, Dempsey led Furman to a pair of Southern Conference titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances before joining Major League Soccer's New England Revolution in 2003. The midfielder netted 17 goals and added 19 assists during his three years at Furman while earning All-SoCon honors all three years and garnering NSCAA All-South Region accolades in 2001 and 2002.
After scoring 25 times in 71 matches with the Revolution, capturing 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year honors and being selected to the MLS Best XI in 2005 and 2006, the Nacogdoches, Texas, native moved to English Premier League side Fulham in 2007. Dempsey netted 23 goals in all competitions during the 2011-12 campaign while helping the London based club to a ninth place finish in the Premier League. In five-and-a-half years at Craven Cottage, Dempsey totaled 61 goals, led the club to the 2010 Europa League final and twice earned Fulham Player of the Season accolades.
His 17 league goals during the 2011-12 season, tied for fourth most in the EPL, helping him finish fourth in league player of the year voting by the Football Writer's Association behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes. During the 2011-12 season, Dempsey passed former Fulham striker Brian McBride as the highest scoring American in Premier League history and surpass Louis Saha's club record for goals in a single season in the top flight of English football.
The former Paladin joined Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League on a three-year contract in August of 2012. The 30-year-old netted 12 goals in 43 appearances for Spurs, including the winning tally in a victory over league champions Manchester United at Old Trafford. He returned to the United States on August 3, 2013, after one year at Spurs when he signed with the Seattle Sounders of MLS. Dempsey was sent out on a two-month loan to Fulham in January.
As a member of the United States Men's National Team since 2004, the three-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has scored 37 times for his country in 104 matches. He helped the U.S. qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and earned starts in two of three matches at the finals. Dempsey became the only American to score at the event when he hammered home a DeMarcus Beasley pass versus Ghana in the final game of group play.
After leading the U.S. to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and earning 2007 U.S. Male Athlete of the Year honors, Dempsey earned the Bronze Ball at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa by scoring in victories over Egypt and second-ranked Spain to lead the Americans to the finals against Brazil.
Following the United States' qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Dempsey scored in the opening round of the finals versus England to help the U.S. advance to the round of 16. This past year, he started eight matches and scored five goals for his country to help the U.S. capture the top spot in CONCACAF qualifying and earn a spot at this summer's World Cup.