Klinsmann encouraging Dempsey to leave Fulham
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is encouraging Clint Dempsey to leave Fulham and sign with a bigger club.
The 29-year-old Texan scored 17 Premier League goals and 23 overall this season, the best season by an American attacking player in England.
Dempsey's contract with Fulham has one year remaining.
''His goal is the right goal,'' Klinsmann said during a conference call Friday, a day before the Americans play an exhibition against Scotland. ''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.''
Dempsey was tied for fourth in the EPL in scoring, trailing only Arsenal's Robin van Persie (31), Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (27) and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (23).
''The sky is the limit if you want to work for it, if you want to do it every day and if you want to be hungrier and nastier and stronger than your competitors. He embraced that approach, and that's why when he's now coming into the national team environment, he's one of the leaders,'' Klinsmann said. ''Players look up to him, especially the young 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.''
Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will miss the Scotland game on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Fla. Dempsey is still recovering from a groin strain that caused him to miss the ninth-place Cottagers' season finale at Tottenham on May 19 and he might not be ready for Wednesday night's exhibition against Brazil in Landover, Md.
Dempsey and Landon Donovan have not played together since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as coach last July.
Altidore had been blocked from reporting until Monday by AZ Alkmaar. Even though the Dutch club's season ended May 6, AZ stuck to the last day to release him under FIFA regulations.
''They were not open to change their opinion,'' Klinsmann said, ''which is not very nice for us.''
Defenders Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst also won't play against the Scots after arriving at training camp in Kissimmee, Fla., late Thursday following the end of their Danish clubs' season the previous day. The U.S. will have five games in 18 games, including a June 3 exhibition against Canada in Toronto, followed by the Americans' opening qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, against Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa, Fla., then play at Guatemala on June 12.
Klinsmann picked only seven defenders for his 23-man roster to go along with seven midfielders, six forwards and three goalkeepers. After Timmy Chandler's refusal to commit to the U.S. - he also is eligible for Germany - and Klinsmann's decision not to select Eric Lichaj - the Americans appear thin at outside back, where Steve Cherundolo appears set to start on the right and either Hoffenheim's Fabian Johnson or Tijuana's Edgar Castillo on the left.
Johnson started his club's final six-to-eight games on defense and Klinsmann said he ''actually became one of the best left backs in the Bundesliga.'' Parkhurst can provide coverage at right back after playing the position over several months for Nordsjaelland, which won its first Danish league title and qualified for next season's Champions League.
Klinsmann trimmed forward Juan Agudelo, defender Alfredo Morales and midfielders Danny Williams and Graham Zusi from his roster Friday.
Midfielder Joe Corona is the only player on the roster for the first time. He scored four goals in qualifying as the U.S. under-23 team failed to make the London Olympics.
Agudelo was traded to Chivas USA on May 17 from the New York Red Bulls, where he was stuck behind Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper. The 19-year-old Agudelo requested the deal.
''Now he's got to prove it. He's got to score goals. He's got to play every game,'' Klinsmann said. ''It's now down to him to show everybody that he belongs.''
Williams was dropped after reporting to camp with a shoulder injury.
Klinsmann said 21-year-old forward Terrence Boyd, whose 20 goals helped Borussia Dortmund's second team earn promotion to Germany's third tier, will likely be with another club next season.
''They see he's ready for the next big step,'' Klinsmann said.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake);
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Geoff Cameron (Houston), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana, Mexico), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Clarence Goodson (Brondby, Denmark), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland, Denmark)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona, Italy), Joe Corona (Tijuana, Mexico), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim, Germany), Jermaine Jones (Schalke, Germany), Jose Torres (Pachuca, Mexico),
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna, Mexico), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)