Clint Dempsey shocked many when he inked a deal with MLS' Seattle Sounders earlier this month.
After a successful stint in the Premier League, Dempsey returns to MLS with even more fanfare surrounding him. As one of the stars of the United States men's national team, this is a big get for the domestic league.
There has been plenty of chatter about what this means for MLS and Dempsey, but some fans may be wondering what effect this will have on Dempsey and the USMNT heading in to Brazil.
Iron sharpens iron. Dempsey coming back to MLS will effect his play in the long term, and there is no way around that. Playing in the Premier League helps players achieve new heights. They are forced to play against some of the finest competition in the world. MLS is working hard to make strides in that area, but the league is not close yet.
I will qualm some of your fears. This will not have a negative impact on the USMNT.
If Dempsey had made the move back to MLS directly after the 2010 World Cup, I may be singing a different tune, but Dempsey is in his prime, and he won't be getting much better. More importantly, the timing will not see this move having ill effects on the squad.
Dempsey avoids the rigors of Premier League training and competition. There will be less chance of injury. Also, with World Cup qualifying still to complete he won't have to deal with the trappings of travel.
If anything, this is a positive for the USMNT.
The above argument about iron sharpening iron can be made, but the World Cup is so close that we won't see dramatic improvements in his game. What we will see is Dempsey having more time with his USMNT teammates.
Chemistry will play a big role with the national team. There are still many holes to fill on the roster, and they will need time to gel prior to Brazil in 2014. Dempsey being home will help that transition.
Dempsey will have greater control in Seattle. We have seen similar control with USMNT teammate Landon Donovan in Los Angeles. Dempsey will be able to be in peak shape for the USMNT matches as the qualifying comes to an end and the team prepares for the World Cup.
Looking down the line long-term, kids will get to watch him here at home. They can develop an interest in soccer and breed a new, larger generation of players. That fact should not be lost in the shuffle as U.S. Soccer tries to grow its youth development.
For the USMNT, they should be thrilled with Dempsey's move to Seattle.
This may have been the right time for Dempsey to come home. At the height of his stardom he returns to the domestic league to help promote it and the game on home soil. He comes home to solidify the team as it prepares for the biggest tournament in sports. The impact of this move looks to be mostly positive moving forward.
Rejoice that Dempsey is home.