On the heels of a resilient performance in the 2014 World Cup, Clint Dempsey will now be one of the faces of FIFA 15 by EA Sports.
The announcement was made by the official Seattle Sounders FC Twitter account:
Dempsey joins Argentina and FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the North America cover star in the upcoming edition of the game. Here's some alternate looks at the cover, per EA Sports:
Thanks to Dempsey's leg—and chest—the United States were able to advance out of the Group of Death to make it into the knockout stage during the World Cup. The 31-year-old notched two goals during the tournament and led the team despite suffering a broken nose against Ghana.
With nine goals this season in nine games started for the Seattle Sounders, Dempsey has more than made his mark on the MLS as well.
Prior to the official announcement on Saturday, Dempsey spoke about being on the cover in a phone interview, per Fox Soccer:
It’s crazy. It’s really cool. I was a fan of the game growing up, playing with my friends. Going from playing the game with my friends to being able to play with my own player in the game and now being on the cover, it’s something that’s pretty special. It’s an honor.
Dempsey takes over as the North America cover athlete after Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez was featured last year. This is also the first time an American player has been on the cover since Landon Donovan in 2011.
Here's a look at another way the Sounders chose to make the announcement, per Tim Booth of The Associated Press:
The Sounders also provided video of the banner reveal:
At 31, Dempsey is likely soon to enter the twilight of his career. But with his face being featured on the cover of FIFA 15, this makes it clear that soccer is here to stay in the U.S.
Fox Soccer offers thoughts on what this means for American soccer:
It is also a sign of Dempsey’s cultural relevance in a World Cup year and the increasing influence of MLS on the whole. ... If Dempsey’s presence prompts more players to opt for MLS sides instead of Barcelona or Real Madrid, then it is exactly the sort of development that can help the league moving forward.
The publicity of stars such as Dempsey and Tim Howard during and since the World Cup has been astounding and continues to put soccer in front of American fans. Though the tournament is over, having an American on the cover gives more notoriety to the sport in the United States.
Thanks to some of the covers featuring Dempsey in a Sounders jersey, this will also help boost the MLS as a whole. The team is an important part of the league's growth in America.
While the World Cup has come and gone, Dempsey as a leader and a public figure in the world of sports is clearly here to stay.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.